NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Authorities in Seoul continue to investigate a Halloween celebration that ended with more than 150 people dead. A student from New Mexico now living there, shared she is in disbelief.
“There’s such an eerie quietness in the city right now,” said Kiana Gerhart, a student at Seoul National University.
Originally from New Mexico, Kiana Gerhart moved to South Korea in 2018 to attend Seoul National University. She had plans to attend the massive Halloween celebration on Saturday in Seoul but made a last minute, and possibly lifesaving decision, not to go.
“I just didn’t feel like going, but sadly yesterday happened,” said Gerhart.
Her friend who did attend, described the frightening scene.
Gerhart added, “he told me that he saw dead bodies on the ground. He told me that he saw people screaming. There was just so much happening in such a short time that he just feels heartbroken.”
On Saturday, an estimated 100,000 people attended a Halloween celebration in Itaewon, a popular nightlife area in Seoul, South Korea. Gerhart said many were excited to go as Covid restrictions were lifted. However, things broke into chaos as visitors walked into a narrow alleyway causing people to fall onto each other. More than 150 people died and many others are injured after being crushed.
Gerhart said she attended the event last year and mentioned the area can get crowded quickly.
“These are city alley ways filled with thousands to thousands of people who are all going in the same direction. Who are all wanting to eat at the same restaurants, and you cannot move. At all. There’s no room for any paramedics. There’s no room for police…it’s just that packed,” Gerhart mentioned.
Gerhart has reached out to all her friends making sure they are safe.
“No one would have expected a tragedy like this to happen and sadly we’re learning from this, and I hope something like this never happens again.”
Now many are saying this event needs to manage their crowds better to prevent this from happening again. More than 1,700 first responders were sent to the scene to help with the wounded.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol declared a national mourning period. There are areas around the city for people to pay their respects to the victims. Officials are still investigating the cause of the incident.