South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered a period of national mourning on Sunday after at least 153 people were killed in a stampede in Seoul.

The rush of the crowd occurred during the Halloween festivities when a huge crowd pushed into a narrow alley, crushing those in the middle of the group. Mourners laid flowers on the scene hours after first responders described carrying body after body out of the alley, finding few alive.

Seoul officials have received more than 350 reports of people missing in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“This is really tragic,” Yoon said in a statement. “A tragedy and a disaster that should not have happened occurred last night in the heart of Seoul.

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A man lays flowers as he cries on the way of a deadly stampede during a Halloween festival on October 30, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A relative of missing persons following Itaewon's Halloween stampede reacts as she awaits updates at Seoul's Hannam-dong Community Center.  JUNG YEON-JE / AFP via Getty Images)

A relative of missing persons following Itaewon’s Halloween stampede reacts as she awaits updates at Seoul’s Hannam-dong Community Center. JUNG YEON-JE / AFP via Getty Images)

Interior Minister Lee Sang-min confirmed that 90% of the victims had been identified on Sunday morning, according to Reuters.

Crowds gathered at Seoul’s Hannam-dong Community Center to learn about the fate of loved ones who had been reported missing. One person reportedly knelt down and cried after talking to officials.

The people killed in the accident were for the most part young, most in their 20s and some even teenagers. Halloween is a huge event for Seoul’s nightclubs and restaurants, generating large crowds every year.

Officials say 82 other people were injured in the stampede, with 19 serious injuries.

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Yoon’s office ordered flags to half the staff and said the government will pay the medical bills of the injured and the funeral bills of those killed.

Emergency services at the scene of a deadly stampede during a Halloween festival on October 30, 2022 in Seoul's Itaewon district, after a huge crowd of people gathered for Halloween parties, according to fire authorities.  (Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images)

Emergency services at the scene of a deadly stampede during a Halloween festival on October 30, 2022 in Seoul’s Itaewon district, after a huge crowd of people gathered for Halloween parties, according to fire authorities. (Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Oh Se-Hoon, mayor of Seoul City, speaks to members of the media at the site of a deadly stampede in the Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea on Sunday, October 30, 2022. (SeongJoon Cho / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Oh Se-Hoon, mayor of Seoul City, speaks to members of the media at the site of a deadly stampede in the Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea on Sunday, October 30, 2022. (SeongJoon Cho / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chilling social media footage showed crowds of people trapped and pressed against each other in the narrow alley as bystanders and first responders attempted to free the people.

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President Biden expressed his condolences to South Korea in a statement.

“We are grieved with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to all who were injured,” Biden said. “The Alliance between our two countries has never been so lively or vital – and the ties between our people are stronger than ever. The United States stands by the Republic of Korea in this tragic period.”

Reuters contributed to this report.



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