Deadly Halloween stampede stuns South Korea

STORY: At least 149 people were killed and another 150 injured in a stampede, when a huge crowd celebrating Halloween crammed into an alley in the Itaewon area of Seoul - South Korea’s capital - Saturday night according to emergency officials.

The incident took place at about 10:20 p.m. local time.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes moments before the stampede, with the police on hand having trouble maintaining control and the crowd becoming increasingly unruly and agitated..

Social media footage captured the chaos—with hundreds of people packed in the narrow, sloped alley crushed and immobile as emergency officials and police tried to pull them free.

Many of the party-goers were wearing masks and Halloween costumes.

Other footage showed fire officials and citizens desperately treating dozens of people who appeared to be unconscious....

A Reuters witness said a make-shift morgue was set up in a building adjacent to the scene.

About four dozen bodies were carried out later on wheeled stretchers and moved to a government facility to identify the victims, according to the witness.

The Itaewon district is popular with young South Koreans and expatriates alike, its dozens of bars and restaurants packed on Saturday for Halloween.

It was the first Halloween event in Seoul in three years after the country lifted COVID restrictions and social distancing.

Authorities said they were investigating the exact cause of the incident. President Yoon Suk-yeol presided over an emergency meeting with senior aides.