At least 146 people have died and 150 were injured in an apparent crowd surge during packed Halloween festivities in Seoul Saturday night, according to the Yongsan Fire Department chief.
Here are the latest developments.
Death toll could rise: With local hospitals treating dozens of injured people from the Seoul Halloween emergency, the death toll will likely increase, a local health official said. The cause of injuries and deaths in the incident has not been officially confirmed, added Choi Jae-won, the head of Yongsan Health Center.
Official blames crowd surge: A local fire official described the emergency as a “presumed stampede,” but the investigation is just beginning. Few details on specific injuries were provided. Yonhap News Agency reported dozens of people suffered from “cardiac arrest” and trouble breathing.
Authorities said the emergency was not due to a gas leak or a fire in the popular nightclub district. They started receiving reports of people “buried” in the crowds there around 10:24 p.m. local time (9:24 a.m. ET) Saturday.
Witnesses observe chaotic scene: A witness said people were jammed on a narrow street and could not breathe. “I saw the people going to the left side and I saw the person getting to the opposite side,” Sung Sehyun told CNN. “The person in the middle got jammed, so they had no way to communicate. They could not breathe.”
CNN’s Will Ripley reported that a long line of stretchers forming on the street would be used to take bodies from the scene.