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South Korean officials admit failures in crowd crush tragedy

Frank Smith
Press TV, Seoul

In a narrow alley in a the Itaewon entertainment district of Seoul, more than 150 people suffocated and died in the crush of a crowd on a Halloween Saturday evening.

Twenty six of them were foreigners. Five of those were Iranian, the most of any foreign nationals-exchange students in their twenties and thirties. This week the lives lost in the Itaewon tragedy are being mourned, with white Chrysanthemums and black ribbons. And as the investigation into what happens begins, tough questions are being asked of the government and police, about what more could have been done to prevent such a disaster.

As video and news of the event has circulated in both mass and social media, frustration at the response of the government and police has swelled.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo appeared before the foreign press Tuesday. He suggested South Korea was still one of the safest countries in the world, and that preparations were inadequate in part because the event was not registered. But he admitted some failures. The Itaewon tragedy is South Korea’s worst disaster since 2014, when a ferry sank killing 304 people, most of them students on a field trip.

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