Second Australian dead after Seoul Halloween crowd surge

More than 150 people died in Seoul's Halloween crush

A second Australian has lost their life to injuries sustained during a mass-casualty Halloween celebration in South Korea last month.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to The New Daily that an Australian permanent resident has died in Seoul.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian resident who died in Seoul following injuries sustained during the Itaewon incident in October,” a spokesperson said.

“We send our condolences to the family.”

More details about the second Australian victim are not currently available.

The death brings the toll of the Itaewon crush in Seoul to about 157.

This follows the death of 23-year-old Sydney woman Grace Rached, who was killed in the crowd surge in the popular Seoul neighbourhood while celebrating Halloween with friends.

Grace Rached was dressed as Audrey Hepburn and anticipating a fun night out with friends before events took a deadly turn. Photo: Facebook/Grace Rached

Nathan Taverniti, one of Ms Rached’s friends, described the nightmare that unfolded when the group realised they were caught up in a bad situation.

He said all he could see was a “wall of people” in the narrow alley where the crush occurred, as an estimated 100,000 revellers crowded the nightlife hotspot in one of South Korea’s first major public events since the start of the pandemic.

“There was no stampede,” Mr Taverniti said.

“It was a slow and agonising crush.”

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said police must provide “a clear and transparent explanation to the public” about their response to the crush as it was developing.

Following the deadly event, Yoon Hee Keun, commissioner general of the Korean National Police, admitted “a heavy responsibility” for failing to prevent the crowd surge, and said officers didn’t effectively handle emergency calls about the impending disaster.

Transcripts of emergency calls released by the police showed they received the first warning of a possible deadly crush about four hours before it occurred.

Police received 10 similar calls before the situation turned fatal, according to the transcripts.

Mr Yoon said an initial investigation found police didn’t respond to urgent calls by citizens notifying authorities about the potential danger of a crowd gathering in Itaewon in a satisfactory manner.

Police have since launched intense internal investigations into officers’ handling of the emergency calls and their on-the-spot response to the crowd surge in Itaewon the night of the disaster.

“Police will do their best to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again,” Mr Yoon said.

The New Daily has contacted DFAT for comment.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.