At least 153 people have been killed and 82 injured after being crushed by crowds during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, according to South Korean officials.
According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, most of the victims are in their 20s. ABC News has confirmed that two of the 19 foreigners who died were American.
Ann Zeisk, a student at the University of Kentucky, was among the victims, the school’s president, Eli Kapilout, said in a statement Sunday.
“Ann, a junior nursing student from Northern Kentucky, was studying in South Korea on a study abroad program this semester. It’s safe and secure,” Kapilout said. .
“We are in touch with Anne’s family and will offer all possible support now and over the next few days to help them cope with this unspeakable loss,” he added. We are there for the people in our community who knew and loved Ann, and about 80 students from Korea in the UK who need our support, i.e. us There are also members of the community of
Twenty-year-old Stephen Bresci from Georgia was also identified as one of the victims.
His father, Steve Bresci, told ABC News, “The world is a dark place without Steven.”
In a statement, Steve Bresci said, “Last night we received a call from a parent that should not have been received. Our beloved son Stephen passed away in this horrific event while studying abroad in South Korea for a semester. We are devastated and we ask for your prayers.
Kennesaw State University, where Stephen Bresci was a student, also released a statement saying he was an international business major and was one of 11 students from the Korean university as part of a study abroad program. It was reported that there were, KSU said.
“On behalf of the entire Kennesaw community, our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephen’s family and friends as they mourn this incomprehensible loss,” said President Kathy Schweig. We are on board and have provided them with all of the university’s available resources.”
More deaths were feared in the clashes, officials said in an earlier update, putting the toll at 120 dead and 100 injured.
Many victims were transferred to local hospitals for cardiac arrest after emergency CPR, the agency said.
Witnesses said the casualty occurred on Saturday night in Itaewon’s leisure district when a large group of people pushed their way through a narrow alley.
The incident was first reported around 10:20 p.m. local time, officials said. Due to the large number of people, it took time for the rescue team to respond.
More than 100,000 people attended Halloween parties in the area known for its nightclubs. The area is lined with bars in narrow back alleys adjacent to the main street. According to eyewitnesses, people were stranded in these winding alleys.
Bystander video from the scene showed the massive emergency and police response, with some people still gathering at the scene. rice field.
Officials said the cause of the surge in crowds was under investigation.
“I was too scared”
Janelle Story, an American who has lived in South Korea since 2016, told ABC News the area is usually crowded, especially on Halloween.
“It’s the first time since the pandemic that we can actually go out,” she said. did”
Story and friends were bar hopping and started filming the crowd around 10:30 p.m., she said.
“That’s when I saw a lot of people running and pushing and moving fast and screaming and panicking in front of me,” she said. We were slowly standing there, and then it happened, Bam! This wall of people was coming towards us.”
“I stopped filming because it got too scary,” she continued.
Story said he heard other bystanders say people were passing out. As I headed for the subway station, I saw a fire truck, an ambulance, and a police car, and I made it home safely.
“I can’t believe this happened. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “This feels like an extraordinary event.”
A ‘heartbreaking’ report
Following the tragedy, the United States offered South Korea assistance.
“The report from Seoul is heartbreaking,” said White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. said on Twitter“We are thinking of all those who have lost loved ones and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured. The United States stands ready to provide whatever assistance South Korea needs.” .”
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said, “We extend our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul.”
In a statement, the president said, “I mourn with the people of South Korea and wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.” The bond between us is stronger than ever, and the United States stands by the Republic of Korea during this tragic time.”
Nicholas Sirone of ABC News contributed to this report.