Seoul’s Halloween Tragedy

Arissa Garcia, staff reporter

Itaewon, Seoul, a popular tourist attraction known for its nightlife took a gruesome turn on Halloween night, 2022 when an estimated number of 100,000 people dressed in costumes for the holiday visited Itaewon expecting a fun night only to be met with disaster. A slim alleyway near the Hamilton Hotel on Itaewon street swiftly overflowed with participants and left little space to escape. Shoulder to shoulder, approximately 100,000 people, most of them being teenagers and young adults, became crushed. Subsequently, 133 victims left the tragic event injured after being crushed, stomped on, and suffocated. The crowd crush left at least 150 people dead. Emergency services were called 11 times; police transcripts show the terror of the victims. One transcript of a 911 call shows a victim pleading for help, “There are so many people right now, we’re on the verge of a major accident.” Another caller cries, “I think everyone here is going to be crushed to death… The kids inside are being crushed to death.” One more caller exclaims “There is no one controlling this…The police need to come and help get people to come out before letting people in the alleyway. They can’t come out, but people keep coming in.” After the disaster, people questioned why the police were not there to help the situation. Reportedly, the area was too crowded for police or paramedics preventing first responders from entering the crowd to help people. Mourned by the victims of this disaster, this claustrophobic terror has lived as Seoul’s Halloween Tragedy.