The death toll from Saturday’s tragic Halloween party in Seoul rose to 156. South Korea’s police chief said Tuesday that crowd control in the area where the tragedy occurred is “insufficient.”
The tragedy occurred from Saturday to Sunday in the Itaewon Concert DistrictWhere tens of thousands of people enjoyed Halloween. On a steep, narrow street, people stomped on each other in a panic, and many suffocated.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Interior Ministry said the death toll had risen to 156. The balance may rise further, as more than 30 people are in serious condition. Many foreigners were among the victims, including from RussiaChina, USA, JapanFrance , Norway and Austria – Yonhap news agency reported.
After the Seoul tragedy, the local police found themselves under criticism. South Korean police chief Yoon Hee-kyun said on Tuesday that crowd control in the area where the accident occurred was “inadequate” and that he “feels very responsible for what happened,” Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday.
A day earlier, an officer from Hong Ki-hyun who heads the South Korean Police’s Public Security Bureau admitted that “it was not expected that a large number of people would gather in this place.” “We did not expect this to lead to a large number of deaths,” Hong said.
According to him, the number of people playing in Itaewon was the same as in previous years or slightly higher. “I learned that the police at the scene did not detect the sudden increase in the crowd,” he told reporters.
The police official admitted that there were no separate crowd-control measures in the narrow street where the tragedy occurred. – He added that the police do not have any set of guidelines for cases where a large number of people gather at events without a specific organizer.
Can the tragedy be avoided?
Earlier, there were voices in the South Korean media that the tragedy could have been prevented or downsized.
However, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said on Sunday that the Itaewon rally “was not of particular concern” and that the accident might not have been avoided by sending more police and firefighters to the site, the Korea Herald reported.
South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol on Tuesday called for safety measures to be taken to prevent accidents for fans. “We must develop specific crowd control security measures, not only in the streets where this massive disaster occurred, but in other places such as stadiums and concert venues where large crowds gather,” Yoon said.
National mourning is in effect until Saturday in South Korea.
Main image source: PAP / EPA / JEON HEON-KYUN
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