Tragedy in the streets of Seoul: Amador Korean-American community grieves after Seoul crowd crush

From Halloween celebration to real-life horror


Grace Huang

The Seoul crowd crush takes the lives of over 100 people and many more injured.

When Danny Kim (‘26) first heard the news that over 100 people died in a Seoul Halloween celebration, his heart dropped. He couldn’t believe that something this tragic could have happened in Korea. 

The Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul is a popular destination for people who want to celebrate Halloween. Streets are open for all ages to dress up and express their Halloween spirits. 

However, on the night of Oct. 29 whilst celebrating the holiday, a crowd crush occurred during the festivities with the deaths of more than 100 people and many more injured. There are multiple factors contributed to the crowd crush. Since most were in heavy costumes and the crowded streets are slanted, once a person falls over, it’s difficult to get back up. With the shocking news, the Korean-American community has been grieving over the tragedy. 

“My heart is pounding in a way that it flusters every time I think about it. It’s truly tragic, and it’s sad to hear about the people whose lives were lost,” said Danny Kim.

Itaewon is known for being a center of culture and entertainment with its streets lined with bars and restaurants. It’s a place where people around the world gather to enjoy unique celebrations of different cultures. However, with everyone being in a pandemic the past few years, it’s not surprising that the holiday is appealing for those who want to have some fun. 

“Covid started to get better or die down a little, and everyone was trying to have a little more fun in these streets. The fact that it ended up as a tragedy is very unfortunate,” said Minsung Kim (‘25). “People during that time were so careless, which led to such a tragic result.”

There was quite a large crowd on the evening of the event with an estimated 100,000 people on the slanted streets. Halloween has not been widely celebrated in Seoul since six or seven years ago, and it’s mainly celebrated by young people that gather in the neighborhood for the unofficial festivities. 

“There should have been more regulations on the maximum capacity of people allowed to be there. There should also be restrictions making sure that there is no informal partying and crowding,” said Danny Park (‘26).

Thankfully, most students at Amador also did not have any personal connections that were there that night. However, there were some family members and friends that had been contemplating on attending the festivities. 

“My cousin was saying that he wanted to go to that street, but he ended up not going, which was a very good decision. It’s a relief that he didn’t go because we don’t know what could have happened to him,” said Minsung Kim.

People in the media argue that preventative action could have been made to ensure that the same tragedy doesn’t occur a second time. Moving into the future, some suggested that precautions should be made. Although the tragedy had already happened, it’s never too late to learn from the mistakes. 

“It could’ve been prevented if the police had a better response. Some factors that contributed to the crowd crush are inadequate police involvement because there were lots of calls that went in, but there wasn’t a proper amount of officers that were dispatched,” said Emily Choe (‘26).

After knowing about the event of the Seoul crowd crush, many learned a lesson from this traumatizing night. Korean parents were also panicking about their children’s safety issues, especially moving from teenage to adulthood.

“My parents told me and my sister to avoid crowded places. I think they need to control the amount of people that were there in the first place so something like that doesn’t happen again,” said Choe.

The events of the night serve to remind everyone that celebrations can be fun, but safety should always be a priority. Though it’s difficult for the Korean-American community to directly be there for those in mourning, they are continuing to send their condolences and find ways to help. 

“We’re sending our prayers to those in Korea that are grieving for their lost family and friends. I’ve also been sharing the news and informing people about the tragedy,” said Danny Kim.

Although Korean students at Amador haven’t lived in Korea, many still felt deep sorrow when hearing about the tragedy in their home country, especially on a day that was supposed to be joyful. 

“We think of it as very unfortunate just because of how many people died and no one was expecting it. We think that next time we should prepare and be more careful about these kinds of big events during these holidays because holidays are supposed to be fun and joyful with friends and families. Having this kind of bad result is not pleasant,” said Minsung Kim.