Revelers celebrating in Itaewon, where at least 153 people were killed in the Halloween crowd surge on Saturday, have been asked to help resuscitate victims of the stampede – some of whom were already dead by the time they got rescued. ugly.
Officials in Seoul, South Korea, said on Sunday that 19 of the victims were foreign nationals, including an American. The age and identity of the victims have not been released.
One party girl, a 24-year-old named Ana visiting from Spain, told the BBC she and her friend Melissa, 19, from Germany, went to a bar next to where the crash had taken place and were trying to leave when the ambulances arrived.
Neither knew how to perform CPR, but soon began following instructions given by others at the scene.
“They were telling me how to hold your head and open your mouth, and things like that. I was trying to help but they were both dead too. I have to say all the people they were bringing in for CPR, most of them were already not breathing so there was nothing they could do,” Ana said.
So many people needed help that everyone lent a helping hand, according to Ana, who said it was particularly traumatic because there was little they could do to help.
“There were so many people that they needed normal people to do CPR. So everyone started stepping in and helping. We had two friends who knew how to perform CPR and they came out to help us,” Ana said.
“Three minutes later or maybe more they came back looking so traumatized and crying. Because they tried to save five or six people and they all died at the hands of my friends.
She added: “There was nothing we could do, that was the main trauma.”
Thousands of young people, teenagers and adults in their 20s and 30s attended Halloween celebrations in Itaewon this weekend after two years of COVID restrictions in South Korea were finally lifted.
Videos posted online showed people in suits being pushed through the narrow streets. Some seemed to scale the walls on either side in an attempt to escape the horrible crush. Other videos and photos taken at the scene show body bags, emergency responders performing CPR and rescuers pulling unconscious people out of the crowd.
Sunday evening, the official toll was 153 dead, including at least 133 injured. The death toll could rise as 37 of the injured were in serious condition.
Ninety-seven of the dead were women and 56 men. More than 80% of the dead were in their 20s and 30s, and at least four were teenagers.
This is a developing story.