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'I have no words. It's an incredible loss': Canadian among those injured in Halloween stampede in Seoul, South Korea

Warning: This story contains distressing images and information

A Canadian was among the people injured in the Halloween stampede that killed at least 150 people in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday, Global Affairs says.

“Global Affairs Canada is aware that a Canadian is injured in the mass casualty incident in Seoul,” the government agency said in an email to Yahoo News Canada. “Canadian officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and stand ready to provide consular assistance.”

Global Affairs Canada did not provide more information about the injured person or their condition due to privacy considerations.

“Canada offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed during yesterday’s Halloween festivities and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” the department said in a tweet issued on Sunday. “To our friends in South Korea, we stand with you during this difficult time.”

Tens of thousands of people had crowded into narrow streets and alleyways of Seoul’s popular district Itaewon on Saturday for the first unrestricted Halloween festivities in three years.

A street in Itaewon district is pictured full of people before a stampede during Halloween festivities killed and injured many in Seoul, South Korea
A street in Itaewon district is pictured full of people before a stampede during Halloween festivities killed and injured many in Seoul, South Korea

The crowd consisted of mostly young people and teens, many of them in their early 20’s, were celebrating in one particular alley when they became trapped and crushed as a huge crowd surged into the narrow street. Officials say at least 153 people died and 133 people were injured, making it South Korea’s worst disaster in years.

Nearly two-thirds of those who were trapped and crushed – 97 – were women. Most were in their 20s and 30s, and at least four were teenagers.

South Korea's Ministry of Interior and Safety said at least 20 foreigners were among the dead, from China, Iran, Russia, the United States, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Norway, with several people still unidentified.

U.S. State Department later confirmed at least two U.S. citizens were killed in the stampede.

Videos online showed emergency workers and pedestrians desperately performing CPR on people lying in the streets.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo promised the country a thorough investigation into the matter that caused the deaths of many people.

“The government will undertake a thorough investigation into what caused this accident and do its best to make necessary institutional changes so that such an accident is not repeated,” Han said.

“Identification has been completed for all of the 154 deceased except one, and I believe it is time for follow-up measures such as funeral procedures to be carried out in earnest,” Han added.

President Yoon Suk-yeol has declared a period of national mourning and designated Itaewon a disaster zone. He also visited a memorial altar near the Seoul city hall and paid his respects to victims on Monday.

During a televised speech, Yoon said supporting the families of the victims, including their funeral preparations, and the treatment of the injured would be a top priority for his government.

The world reacts to tragic stampede

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other international leaders in offering condolences to South Korea on Saturday following the deadly stampede.

“I’m thinking of everyone affected by this tragedy, and wishing a fast and full recovery to those who were injured,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

Korean American author and journalist Min Jin Lee also reacted to the news on Twitter and said, "I cannot imagine the heartbreak and despair" in a tweet.

Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa directly at +1 613 996 8885 (collect calls are accepted where available), at 001-800-2326-6831, 008-800-2326-6831, 002-800-2326-6831 (toll-free from South Korea) or via SMS at +1-613-686-3658 (carrier charges may apply). An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.