- South Korean officials said they didn’t have crowd safety plans for events without organizers.
- The admission comes as the country reels from a crowd crush on Saturday which killed 155 people.
- Huge crowds gathered in Seoul’s Itaewon district to celebrate Halloween when the tragedy struck.
Seoul authorities had no safety plan for mass crowds at events like Saturday’s Halloween celebrations in Itaewon, where 155 people died in a horrific crowd crush, two top South Korean officials said on Monday.
“There have been no safety management guidelines or manuals for events without an organizer,” said Kim Seong-ho, head of the disaster and safety management headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, local newspaper The Hankyoreh reported.
Officials will review safety measures to include such events, Kim added, per the outlet.
Oh Seung-jin, head of the violent crime investigation division of the National Police Agency, also said on Monday that authorities had “no separate preparation manual” for events without an organizer, per Korean news outlet Pressian.
Oh added that 137 police officers were dispatched to Itaewon on Saturday night, according to Pressian.
However, the officers were deployed to prevent crime and to crack down on “illegal activities,” not to manage crowds, an unnamed police official told the outlet.
As of Monday, 155 people have died from the crowd crush, including 13 teenagers, while another 152 were injured, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said, per The Hankyoreh. The majority of the deceased — 100 victims — were women, while 55 were men, the outlet reported.
Many died from cardiac arrest as they were trapped in the crush, authorities said.
It’s still unclear what caused the huge Halloween crowd on Saturday night to pile into a narrow alley in Itaewon, a dining and nightlife district. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called for an investigation, and officials said they’ve been analyzing CCTV footage to determine the cause of the tragedy, per Reuters.
On Sunday, Yoon announced a national period of mourning until “the accident is brought under control,” per the Yonhap news agency.