BREAKING: Multiple Americans Die in South Korean Crowd Stampede

Today is Halloween and it should be a day of fun for kids and scary movies. The term originates from the English expression All Hallow’s Eve, which means “Eve of All Saints.”

It’s a celebration of the day of the dead, but Halloween isn’t supposed to be a day when people actually die. Sadly, there has been a tragedy in South Korea that has taken American lives.

Mass Death Stampede in South Korea

On Saturday, October 29, a crowd of more than 100,000 gathered for a Halloween party in downtown Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

However, the party got out of control and a stampede began. People began trying to leave the crowd all at once and picked up speed, leading to innocent people being trampled underfoot and killed.

This tragedy led to the death of 153 people, including two Americans.

One of them is Steven Blesi from Georgia, while the other is Anne Gieske of Kentucky. Both bodies were identified on Sunday, an enormous tragedy for their grieving families.

A Tragic Warning and Awful News

Hours before his son went to the Halloween festival, Blesi’s father said he sent a message to his son, advising him to be careful during the massive party. That was the last contact with his son who he’ll now never hear from again.

Blesi’s father said he thought it was strange for his son not to get in touch. It made him reach out more to try to see why his son wasn’t answering follow-up messages. That’s when he got the horrible news that no father should ever hear.

On Sunday, Blesi’s father received a call, but it wasn’t from his son. It was from the U.S. Embassy in South Korea saying his son died in Itaewon, the district of Seoul where the big party occurred.

Blesi’s father said it was as if he had been stabbed thousands of times when he received the news of his son’s death. An overwhelming pain consumed his whole body and heart.

Blesi was an applied student. He studied at a university in Seoul and wanted to work in Asian foreign trade as soon as he graduated.

Tragic Deaths

Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, said Gieske was part of an exchange in South Korea, along with two other students who were also part of the same program.

Two other Kentucky students who also participated in the Korean Halloween festival are safe and alive, but Gieske’s family has also received the terrible news.

Capilouto said he’s giving as much support as possible to Gieske’s family. The day before the fateful disaster, nursing student Gieske turned 20 years old.

What Happened?

Several videos have circulated on the internet. One shows several people trying to escape the crowd. Many are pushed sideways and others try to climb over barriers in an attempt to save themselves.

As the crowd got out of control people were trampled, with many being knocked out, vomiting, being pulled away while unconscious, or being zipped into body bags.

Yoon Suk-Yeol, President of South Korea, declared mourning in the country until investigations into the tragedy are complete.

This article appeared in FreshOffThePress and has been published here with permission.