South Korea

Australian traveler recalls narrowly escaping crowds in South Korea – Travel Weekly

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An Australian in South Korea has recalled the horror of fleeing a crowd crush that killed more than 150 people during a Halloween celebration in Itaewon, Seoul.

Nathan Taverniti, 23, from Sydney, said he and three friends were at the front of the crowd of 100,000 when people started “coming in from both sides”.

“I turned around and told the crowd, you can’t go this way, people are dying because I already know how bad it is, people are so rude, I had to tell them you can’t go this way,” he told london telegraph.

In a video posted on TikTok, Tavernetti said he couldn’t see his friend and had to crawl out of the crowd, where two of his friends were later found in hospital and a third had died.

@taeveniti

RIP – I was there in Itaewon because my friends were crushed – this is their story – people need to know what happened – those who were abandoned by the government #itaewon

♬ original sound – taeveniti

“It was my friend’s 24th birthday in 12 days and I was there when she said she couldn’t breathe and I grabbed my friend’s hand,” Taverniti said in the video.

Taverniti said he spent “several hours” searching for his friend’s body.

“There was no stampede. It was a slow and painful crush. This crush was not caused by drunk people. It lacked planning, police force and emergency services. Nobody wanted to help.

“I watched people filming, singing and laughing as my friend died along with many others.”

Taverniti reported that they saw bystanders perform CPR on the unresponsive person lying on the ground as they waited for first responders to arrive. He said the situation could have been “easily avoided”.

Witnesses reported that the crowd surge created a “hellish” situation, with people collapsing “like dominoes”. Streets were reportedly crowded with pedestrians and slow-moving vehicles, making it difficult for ambulances and first responders to access the alleyways.

Smartraveller issued a warning to Australians in South Korea, encouraging them to contact friends and family and let them know of their whereabouts. South Korean President Yoon has declared national mourning, the website said.


Featured image: Crowd squeezes police tape at scene (Euronews)

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