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‘There were dead everywhere,’ American soldiers said of the South Korea massacre

‘There were dead everywhere,’ American soldiers said of the South Korea massacre

'There were dead everywhere,' American soldiers said of the South Korea massacre

‘There were dead everywhere,’ American soldiers said of the South Korea massacre

They extricated corpse after body for hours from the entangled mass of crushed limbs that filled the small Itaewon alleyway at the centre of South Korea’s worst-ever stampede.

The 151 fatalities and scores of injuries were caused by a mass surge and crush, which three off-duty American soldiers stationed in South Korea described to AFP. They described scenes of pandemonium, misery, and death as they tried to aid.

Local sellers referred to the event’s attendance of an estimated 100,000 people as “unprecedented,” but the overworked police department, which was simultaneously handling a demonstration across town, only expected to deploy 200 policemen.

The three US soldiers claimed to have been among the group entering the confined, treacherous alleyway that turned into a death trap, but they managed to flee onto a ledge-like area to the side.

However, “things started happening — everybody just fell on top of each other like dominoes” as soon as they were able to escape the mob, 40-year-old Jarmil Taylor told AFP.

Even though the street was already packed to capacity, individuals at the top of the alleyway were making an effort to press their way down, and suddenly people started to fall.

 

“There were layers of people; there were people on top of people. They didn’t have enough people to aid them all at once, Taylor told AFP on the scene on Sunday, looking groggy and exhausted.

“People in the mass panicked, which worsened the situation. It was impossible because of the noises all around us; people yelling basically drowned them out,” he continued.

He claimed that he and his buddies would attempt to rescue victims from the tangle and take them to safety so that first responders could perform CPR.

“Since they had finally opened them up, we were picking up a lot of people and taking them into the adjacent clubs. There were several people sprawled out on the club floors.

Taylor and his friends are stationed at Camp Casey in Gyeonggi as part of the approximately 27,000 US troops that Washington has stationed there to assist defend South Korea from the nuclear-armed North.

They chose to attend the Itaewon celebrations the week before, but they later realised something was off when they got lost in the massive crowd.

The 32-year-old Dane Beathard added, “We were getting nervous too. We were in the centre of it, so we got off to the side, and that’s when it all fell apart.

According to him, there were so many people jammed into the passageway that rescue workers were unable to extricate any of them.

We worked all night to free individuals. People trapped there had to go without air for a very long time, according to Beathard.

He added that at the worst parts there was “a fifteen foot layer of people,” adding that “all of the victims crushed were near the front, where they collapsed into a pile.”

The majority of the victims, according to the authorities, were 20-something women.

According to him, there were so many people jammed into the passageway that rescue workers were unable to extricate any of them.

We worked all night to free individuals. People trapped there had to go without air for a very long time, according to Beathard.

He added that at the worst parts there was “a fifteen foot layer of people,” adding that “all of the victims crushed were near the front, where they collapsed into a pile.”

The majority of the victims, according to the authorities, were 20-something women.

Taylor remarked, “We are not little people, yet we were crushed too before we got out,” and he added that because the catastrophe happened so rapidly, they were unable to grasp what was happening.

 

“What you’ve got to realise is that everyone who was trapped in the front was on the ground and crushed. People piled up as they fell because you couldn’t push forward and trample everyone in front, he added.

The trio expressed gratitude for having survived.

The three of them told AFP that there were bodies “all, everywhere” as they left.

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