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More than 150 people killed in Halloween crowd crush in South Korea

More than 150 people have been killed during a horrifying crowd crush in South Korea’s capital where thousands had gathered to celebrate Halloween on Saturday night.

The death toll spiralled rapidly as emergency responders attended to the bodies lying on the pavement in the Itaewon nightlife district of Seoul.

It’s feared that the death toll could rise further as 150 people injured so far are taken to hospital.

Video footage shows paramedics trying to save lives by performing CPR amid early reports that 50 people were in cardiac arrest and 81 experiencing breathing difficulties.

Victims can be seen lying unconscious. In some footage dead bodies are covered over with sheets and lined up on the street while other bodies are wheeled away on stretchers.

Survivors can also been seen searching through piles of bodies and pulling people alive from underneath.

Emergency responders in the popular nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul. Photo: Getty

The public event was the country’s first Halloween celebration without face masks since the pandemic and it’s reported the event is so popular that hotels are booked out.

Earlier, some attendees had posted their concerns on social media that the huge number of people congregated in the tight district felt “unsafe”.

Media reports suggest that the surge happened when people began rushing to a bar in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot, after hearing a celebrity visited there.

One attendee posted on Twitter that it was “truly the scariest Halloween of my life”.

Emergency calls for help were made about 11.30pm.

South Korea’s President Yon Suk-yeol presided over an emergency meeting with top aides and ordered the dispatch of emergency medical teams to the area, his office said.

Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said the death toll could rise as emergency workers were continuing to transport the injured to hospitals across Seoul.

Injured people are treated by paramedics. Photo: Getty

More than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles from around the nation, including all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued emergency text messages urging people in the area to swiftly return home.

President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and review the safety of the festivity sites.

The popular nightlife district of Itaewon. Photo: Getty

The president also instructed the Health Ministry to swiftly deploy disaster medical assistance teams and secure beds in nearby hospital to treat the injured.

Local media said around 100,000 people flocked to Itaewon streets for the Halloween festivities, which were the biggest since the start of the pandemic following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.

-with AAP

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