Death toll of stampede in South Korea rises to 120

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The number of deaths reported from a stampede in a central district of the South Korean capital Seoul has risen to 120, a fire official said.

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A further 100 people were injured in the crush in Seoul's Itaewon district, Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fire Station, said in a briefing at the scene.

Many of the injured were in serious condition and receiving emergency treatment, the officials said.

The incident took place at about 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT). A large number of people fell down in a narrow alley during the Halloween events, Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fire Station, said.

The number of casualties could rise as the rescue effort was still under way.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes moments before the stampede, with the police on hand in anticipation of the
Halloween event at times having trouble maintaining control of the crowds.

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

Other footage showed chaotic scenes of fire officials and citizens 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. More than two dozen bodies were carried out later on stretchers, according to the witness.

“The area is still chaotic so we are still trying to figure out the exact number of people injured,” Moon Hyun-joo, an official at the National Fire Agency said.

Foreigners were among those transferred to nearby hospitals.

President Yon Suk-yeol presided over an emergency meeting with senior aides and ordered emergency medical teams to the area, his office said.

Authorities said they were investigating the exact cause of the incident.

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