Hundreds of personal effects stored in a gymnasium

Hundreds of personal effects stored in a gymnasium

Broken glasses, filthy stuffed animals, blood-stained sneakers… The objects recovered from the scene of the deadly Halloween stampede in Seoul (South Korea) are a poignant reminder of the young age of the victims who disappeared this Saturday.

More than 150 people who came to celebrate Halloween for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, including many young people in their twenties, died during this stampede. Police collected nearly one and a half tons of items after the crowds swirled in the popular Itaewon district.

Hundreds of items stored

Families, who are going to the funerals of their loved ones this week, can collect them from a gymnasium, itself briefly used to collect bodies there. “Some families came and left in tears” with the personal belongings of their loved ones, says a policeman present in the place, occupied by rows of objects, delicately arranged and numbered.

The police notably stored there 260 clothes, sometimes pieces of Halloween costumes, and 256 pairs of shoes. There are also nearly 160 electronic devices, and many connected watches with sometimes torn bracelets.

All objects have been carefully labeled 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,” said a Seoul police officer.

At least 26 victims of foreign origin

Most of the victims lost their lives in a narrow alley. Witnesses said with no police or crowd control at the location, disoriented revelers pushed and shoved each other, not realizing others were falling to the ground and getting trapped, trampled and crushed. As help arrived to extricate victims of the body entanglement, shoes were misplaced and clothing torn to perform resuscitation gestures.

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.

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