Halloween Crowd Crush in Seoul Was ‘Absolutely Avoidable,’ Experts Say

Even on an abnormal weekend, the neighborhood attracts a crowd. However this promised to be no abnormal weekend, and whereas the investigation was nonetheless persevering with, on Monday questions have been being raised about why no law enforcement officials have been in Itaewon to supply crowd management at a well known choke level close to a busy subway station exit and a good alleyway identified for its excessive foot site visitors.

As South Korea grappled to grasp how a tragedy of this scale might have occurred, no authorities company appeared ready to take full duty for the scores of people that have been killed on one of many busiest nights of the yr in Itaewon, although there have been indicators of division inside the governing camp.

South Korea’s house minister, Lee Sang-min, mentioned police forces have been overextended all through town on Saturday to take care of giant anti-government and different protest rallies, which have grown in latest months. However, he mentioned, “I doubt that the issue in Itaewon might have been solved even when we dispatched police and firefighters upfront.”

In a radio interview, Kim Gihyeon, a senior chief of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s governing Folks Energy Celebration, mentioned Mr. Lee ought to “watch his mouth,” and blamed the native police for failing to manage the crowds.

On Monday night, the police have been nonetheless interviewing witnesses and scrutinizing reams of safety digicam footage.

That they had anticipated a crowd of about 100,000 folks every day in the course of the Halloween weekend, however in line with site visitors knowledge from the Seoul subway, 130,000 passengers used the station in Itaewon on Saturday, in contrast with 96,000 per day in the course of the Halloween weekend in 2019 and 60,000 to 80,000 per day in the course of the Halloween weekends in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Final yr, solely 85 officers have been deployed.

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