South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has declared a period of national mourning after a Halloween crowd crush in Seoul killed 153 people.
“This is truly tragic,” Yoon said in a statement on Sunday, hours after some 153 people were killed in a crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon district.
“The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning,” he said.
Fire officials said most of the victims were women and young people in their 20s and included 19 foreigners from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway.
A further 133 people were also injured, 37 seriously.
The stampede took place around 10:20 p.m. (1320 UTC) in the popular nightclub district of Itaewon.
The Yonhap news agency called the disaster the deadliest such incident in South Korean history.
It happened at the first Halloween celebrations in Seoul in three years, after the country lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
The cause of the crush was not immediately clear, though some local media said it happened after a large group of people reportedly rushed to a bar in the area after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there.
The Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia said it learned the “saddest news” of the deadly Halloween crush “with shock”.
It has also expressed “deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, injured, and the Korean people as they mourn this horrific tragedy.”