South Korea’s police chief said he felt “heavily responsible” for the stampede that left more than 150 people dead.

Some 156 people were killed and 152 injured when thousands of Halloween revelers were trapped in a 3.2-meter-wide alley in Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday night.

Thirty injured are hospitalized in serious condition.

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Shoes belonging to the victims are laid out in a gym
National Police Agency Commissioner Yoon Hee-geun speaks at a press conference after the crowd crush that occurred during Halloween festivities at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea, November 1, 2022. REUTERS/Heo Ran
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Yoon Hee-keun, head of the National Police Agency

Yoon Hee-keun, head of the National Police Agency, told a news conference that several calls were made to a hotline warning of a potential accident.

He also admitted that crowd control in the area was “inadequate”, following earlier revelations that only 137 police officers had been assigned to deal with the crowd of more than 100,000 people.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol also said crowd management needed to be improved.

He said: “We should come up with concrete security measures to deal with crowds, not only in these streets where this huge disaster took place, but in other places like stadiums and concert halls where large crowds gather. gather.”

The cause of the crash is still unclear, but police are investigating claims that deliberate pushing may have been a factor.

Read more:
Seoul reveler describes crush panic at crowded Halloween event
How did Seoul’s Halloween celebration turn into a deadly crush?

It was also claimed that a massive crowd of people thronged the narrow lane to see a celebrity who had visited the area.

Cabinet members, accompanying South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, pay their respects to the victims during a visit to the scene of a crowd crush that occurred during Halloween festivities, in Seoul, in South Korea, November 1, 2022. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
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South Korean politicians laid flowers at the site

Kong Ha-song, professor of disaster prevention at South Korea’s Woosuk University, told Reuters news agency that more police and officials should have been monitoring potential choke points.

He said the crash could have been avoided if they had imposed one-way traffic lanes, blocked the entrance to some narrow lanes and temporarily closed the Itaewon subway station to prevent too many people from moving around. in the same direction.

Among the dead were 26 foreign victims – five from Iran, four from China and Russia, two from the United States, two from Japan and one from France, Australia, Norway, Austria, Vietnam, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka.

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