Two Americans were among those killed in a deadly crackdown on a Halloween party in South Korea on Saturday night, the US State Department said on Sunday.
At least 154 people, mostly in their 20s, died after being trapped and crushed as a large crowd poured into a narrow street in Itaewon, a nighttime district in Seoul.
“We can confirm that two US citizens were among those killed in the crash in Itaewon on October 29,” a US State Department official said. Newsweek in an email. “Our staff in Seoul and our colleagues in the United States are working diligently to provide consular assistance to the victims of last night’s events and their families.”
The statement concluded: “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of those killed and continue to support the injured. Due to privacy concerns, we have no further information to add at this time.”
In words to NewsweekThe US Embassy in Seoul said it is “working with local authorities and other partner organizations to provide assistance to affected US citizens.”
Philip Goldberg, the US ambassador to South Korea, said: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of so many people last night, including two young Americans who were celebrating with their Korean friends and others from around the world.
The American flag was flown at half-staff at the US Embassy in Seoul on Sunday, in what Goldberg described as “sad and respectful.”
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan Fire Department, said 22 tourists were among the dead, Reuters reported. They have not confirmed their countries.
Rescuers have set up an emergency hospital near a highway in Itaewon, according to local reports. More than 140 ambulances were assembled from all over the country. Some of the injured were sent to Seoul National University Hospital, Kyung Hee University Hospital in Gangdong and Hanyang University Hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced a week of mourning. He also asked the authorities to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and review the safety of other major cultural and entertainment events to ensure that they run smoothly.
“This is very sad. A tragedy and tragedy that did not have to happen happened in the center of Seoul during Halloween. [celebrations]”Yoon said at the time, according to the Associated Press. “I feel very sad and I can’t keep my sadness as a president who is responsible for people’s lives and security.”
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon was in Europe on a trip at the time, but decided to cut the trip short and return to South Korea when news of the stampede broke, according to The Korea Times newspaper.
President Joe Biden issued a statement Saturday evening expressing his condolences to South Korea after the disaster.
“Jill and I are sending our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul. We sympathize with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured,” Biden said in White. Housing information has been sent by email Newsweek. “The relationship between our two countries has never been greater or more important — and the ties between our peoples are stronger than ever. The United States stands by the Republic of Korea at this difficult time.”
Update 10/30/2022, 9:36 am ET: This article has been updated to include comments from the US Embassy in Seoul.