Investigators continue to piece together the exact chain of events that led to the deaths of at least 151 people. Open crowd In Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday night, an expert suggested there might be “no triggering moment”.
According to the local fire chief, when the crush happened, thousands of people were out on the streets of the South Korean capital to celebrate Halloween, and many of them had gone to the nightlife district of Itaewon – both areas known for it. Vibrant Nightlife As well as its narrow streets and lanes.
Witnesses say streets and alleyways were packed with people outside bars, pubs and restaurants.
At some point, many people appear to have tried to flee the area — although officials said there was no gas leak or fire when the first emergency call came in at 10:24 p.m. about people “buried” in the crowd.
Juliet Kayem, a disaster management expert and national security analyst for CNN, said the city’s density may have played a role in the tragedy.
Kayem said that the combination of narrow streets and dead-end alleys “would certainly have been deadly” in a panic situation, and that people in Seoul would not have seen the danger because they were used to crowds.
“People in Seoul are used to living in crowded spaces, so maybe they’re not completely intimidated by crowded streets.”
She said panic is often a factor in tragedies like this, and “when panic sets in and you have nowhere to go, you’re likely to be crushed.”
However, she added that when such fears arise, “a lot of times, there isn’t a trigger moment.”
Still, she said while it was difficult to say what might have caused the crush officials “predicted a large number … before Saturday night.”
“It is the responsibility of the authorities to monitor crowding in real time, so that they can evacuate people,” Kayem said.