As investigators continue to piece together the exact chain of events that led to the deaths of at least 151 people over the course of Visible crowd increase In Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday night, an expert suggested there may not have been a “starting moment”.
Tens of thousands of people were on the streets of the South Korean capital to celebrate Halloween when the incident occurred, according to the local fire chief, and many flocked to the Itaewon nightlife — an area known for both. vibrant nightlife As well as its narrow streets and alleys.
Eyewitnesses say the narrow streets and alleys are becoming crowded with people congregating outside bars, pubs and restaurants.
At one point, many appeared to have tried to flee the area — although officials said there was no gas leak or fires at the site when they received the first emergency calls for people “buried” in crowds at 10:24 p.m.
Juliette Kayem, a disaster management expert and national security analyst for CNN, said the city’s density may have played a role in the tragedy.
In a panic, Kayyem said, the combination of narrow streets and clogged alleys “would definitely be deadly,” and because people in Seoul are so used to crowds, they may not have discovered the danger.
“People in Seoul are so used to being in crowded places, it’s possible that they might not have been entirely bothered by the crowded streets.”
She said that panic is often a factor in tragedies like this and that “when panic occurs and you have nowhere to go, you are likely to get crushed.”
However, she added, when such panics occur, “often, there is no moment of release.”
However, she said that while it is difficult to determine what might have caused the collapse, authorities “were expecting large numbers … before Saturday night.”
“There is a responsibility on the part of the authorities to monitor the size of the crowds in real time, so that they can sense the need to get people out,” Kim said.
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