A young Australian is among 153 people who died in a Halloween crowd crush in South Korea.

The news was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Sunday, as “urgent inquiries” continue to help other affected Australians.

At least one other dual citizen is in a stable condition in intensive care, as reports emerge that several other Aussies were injured after thousands of people crowded into a narrow street in Seoul to celebrate Halloween on Saturday night.

“The Australian embassy in Seoul has been notified of the death of an Australian at the tragic event in Seoul,” DFAT said.

“Consular officers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are providing consular assistance to the individual’s family in Australia.

“Consular officers are also assisting a number of other Australians who were present at the event.

“The Australian government sends its condolences to the family and others affected by this tragic incident. We ask for the family’s privacy to be respected during this difficult time.”
Nathan Taverniti, who survived the incident, spoke to Yonhap News Agency, identifying himself as a friend of the victim, a 23-year-old woman, and later spoke about the lack of response from authorities on TikTok.

“I just can’t believe it. I was in the front of where it happened,” he said while wiping away tears outside Soonchunhyang University Hospital where some of the victims’ bodies were located.

“All I could see was a wall of people.”

Mr Taverniti said it was “impossible” to save his friend.

“People need to know how bad it was and how little help there was,” he said, adding that he spent Sunday desperately searching for her body.

“I don’t know where she is,” he continued.

“I can’t find any info … the consulate doesn’t know where she is.”

In his TikTok video, Mr Taverniti condemned South Korean authorities for their slow response time, claiming it took half an hour for police to arrive and even longer for other emergency services.

“I was there when she said she couldn’t breathe,” he said through tears.
“There was no stampede. It was a slow and agonising crush.

“This crush was not caused by drunk people. It was a lack of planning (from the) police force and emergency services, and nobody was willing to help.

“I watched as people sang and filmed and laughed while my friends were dying, along with many other people.

“Nobody was doing anything to make the crowd stop.”

According to officials, dozens of attendees went into cardiac arrest following the fatal crush of a 100-000 strong crowd at around 10.22 pm, with hundreds believed to be injured.

Olivia Jacovic, an Aussie living in Seoul, told Channel Nine about how she managed to escape the crush, describing the crowd as “shoulder-to-shoulder”.

“It was really hard, I had bruises on my arms from trying to manoeuvre out but we got on the sidelines luckily and we were standing up on this brick wall and we could see above,” she said.

“It was just shoulder-to-shoulder, people couldn’t breathe the shorter people were trying to look up in the air to get some air.

“I just wanted to get out of there… I don’t care that my clothes were getting ripped.”

According to local emergency responders, many of the victims were women in their teens or early twenties.

Officials added that the incident was believed to have occurred after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley upon hearing that a celebrity was nearby.

Along with 1700 emergency workers, 15 ‘disaster’ medical teams were also deployed to help in the aftermath, but emergency services were still overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims.

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.