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Itaewon crush: Only two of the five buddies who went out on Halloween returned home.

Itaewon crush: Only two of the five buddies who went out on Halloween returned home.

Itaewon crush: Only two of the five buddies who went out on Halloween returned home.

Itaewon crush: Only two of the five buddies who went out on Halloween returned home.

The bodies of young people and their distraught parents are now crammed into the funeral houses of Seoul. Mr. Sim and his wife are slumped on a little sofa at the end of a long hallway, unable to lift their heads.

The body of their son James Sim, age 28, is located inside one of the chambers. Yoon, a friend of James, is in the room next door. James’ girlfriend is also lying in a funeral home on the other side of town.

Together with two other friends, they had travelled to Itaewon on Saturday night to celebrate Halloween. The evening was organised by James. He was always the planner since he enjoyed going out with his buddies, according to his mother.

As a narrow escape, James was one of 155 victims who perished in the crowd crush.

Two of the companions managed to claw their way through the crowd and climb onto some railings at the edge of the alleyway as they were stuck in the deadly crush. Yoon, James, and his girlfriend were unable to see it.

According to his mother, James loved to work out and would spend the majority of his free time in the gym bulking up by lifting weights. How this did not save him baffles her.

According to James’ father, his relationship was becoming more serious. If they had lived, he and his girlfriend would have soon gotten married. He was a conscientious plumber at work, but his hobbies were skiing and surfing. As she describes what he enjoyed doing, his mother’s eyes crinkle with a glimmer of excitement.

Twelve of his old schoolmates are sitting in the room close to his coffin. Since they were eight years old, Park Ju-sung has been his closest friend.

“James was my only friend growing up because I was such a shy kid, claims Ju-sung. He urged me to learn taekwondo alongside him and extended invitations to everything. He encouraged me to be more outgoing.”

Yoon, a friend of James whose funeral is taking place in the adjacent room, was mature beyond his 28 years and at ease with himself. He cherished discovery. According to Jung-su, who claims he respected his confidence, he used to go to bars alone in the nights and make an effort to interact with foreigners in order to learn their languages.

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