More than 146 people have perished in a crush during Halloween festivities in South Korea’s capital city, according to officials.
According to local media, the number of dead has risen from 59 to 120 in the last hour, with 100 persons wounded.
In images from Seoul’s Itaewon area, body bags litter the streets as first responders perform CPR and rescuers battle to release people stuck beneath rubble.
The cause of the collision remains unknown.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called an emergency meeting.
According to Seoul’s Yongsan district Fire Chief Choi Seong-beom, 13 dead have been brought to the hospital and 46 are still lying on the streets.
In the packed mall, I felt “unsafe.”
In the years after the epidemic, an estimated 100,000 individuals in the area attended the first outdoor, mask-free Halloween celebration.
Earlier in the evening, several individuals wrote on social media about how unsafe they felt in the Itaewon district owing to the huge concentration of people.
After reaching the site, BBC correspondent Hosu Lee saw “a lot of medical experts, a lot of ambulances, and they were carrying the deceased away one by one.”
Mr. Lee described witnessing thousands of people in the crowds, as well as several corpses covered in blue sheets, in addition to a “number of officers.”
“This evening has drawn a big number of young people. The party and club were packed with costumed revelers, and I observed numerous cases of concern as well as some chaotic situations “Mr. Lee said.
In photographs and videos, both emergency services and ordinary bystanders can be seen assisting what seem to be unconscious victims on the streets.
One video shows what seems to be a large number of rescuers doing CPR on victims on a crowded roadway.
In another sight, rescue personnel attempt to extract survivors from what seems to be a large corpse pile produced by an unexpected surge of people.
According to another local journalist, an emergency broadcast was sent to every mobile phone in the Yongsan District, encouraging inhabitants to return home as soon as possible due to “an emergency calamity near Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon.”
Adapted from BBC