Items lost in Seoul’s deadly stampede

Items lost in Seoul's deadly stampede

Broken glasses, filthy stuffed animals, blood-stained sneakers… Items recovered from the scene of the deadly Halloween stampede in Seoul serve as a poignant reminder of the young age of the victims who went missing on Saturday night.

More than 150 people, mostly young revelers in their twenties, died in their Halloween costumes, which they had come to celebrate for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

In the popular district of Itaewon, where the tragedy occurred, the police collected nearly a ton and a half of objects lost in the movement of the crowd. Families, who are carrying out the funerals of their loved ones this week, can now collect them from a gymnasium, itself briefly used to collect bodies there.

The enclosure is now occupied by rows of personal effects, neatly arranged and individually numbered.

Most of the victims lost their lives in a narrow alley. Witnesses said that, with no police or crowd control at the location, disoriented people who came to celebrate Halloween pushed and shoved each other, not realizing that others were falling to the ground and found themselves trapped, trampled and crushed to the ground. dead.

While rescuers arrived on the scene and managed to extricate victims from the entanglement of bodies, shoes were misplaced and clothes torn for resuscitation to be carried out.

Inside the gymnasium, the police stored 260 clothes, sometimes pieces of Halloween costumes, and 256 pairs of shoes. Many objects are crumpled or soiled, and several shoes show bloodstains.

A visibly upset man clutches an item of clothing tightly to his chest as he examines other relics collected in Itaewon: photos taken from lost wallets, passports and a Halloween wig.

“Some families came and left in tears” with the personal belongings of their loved ones, a policeman present in the gymnasium told AFP.

– “Course at 9 a.m.” –

Authorities also recovered nearly 160 electronic devices from the scene of the stampede.

Twenty pairs of AirPods headphones and many connected watches with sometimes torn bracelets are also on display.

All objects have been carefully labelled, but only a few show the name of their former owner.

“We collected as many items as possible in case they belonged to the victims,” ​​Seoul police officer Jang Young-sik told AFP.

At least 26 of the victims were foreign nationals, notably from Iran, the United States or France.

Among the lost items is a Russian translation of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. The Russian Embassy in South Korea reported that three young Russian women died in the crowd movement.

Coming for the party with friends, the majority of the victims were in their twenties, a generation that has gone through two years of upheaval in their studies due to the pandemic.

“From June to November, class at 9 a.m.”, can we read on a post-it left in a notebook with crumpled pages and stained with footprints.


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