South Korea, Itaewon crush: Selfies help families piece together tragedy that killed 158


“She’s smiling, take a look at her smile, her face.” Oh Il-seok seems lovingly at {a photograph} of his daughter taken within the final hours of her life. As he takes off his glasses to wipe his eyes, his spouse whispers, “Ji-min is my buddy, she is my finest buddy.”

Oh Ji-min, 25, was among the many 158 individuals who died in a crowd crush throughout Halloween festivities in Seoul’s Itaewon nightlife district on October 29.

Her mother and father have the unthinkable process of piecing collectively her final moments from selfies and images taken on her cell phone.

At 9:35 p.m., the images present Ji-min smiling inside a bar. At 9:59 p.m., she messages a buddy to say she goes dwelling. A couple of images with fellow revelers in fancy costume observe, then, at 10:07 p.m., the final picture of Ji-min, smiling together with her buddy Kim.

The pair then headed for the subway, weaving their approach via the lots. Inside minutes they had been caught in a panicking crowd, and swept off their ft right into a slim alleyway the place scores of individuals are to die.

Oh Ji-min and Kim, whose face has been obscured by CNN at her request, in a picture taken minutes before the fatal crush.

“We didn’t imply to go down that alleyway … it felt like we received sucked in,” recalled Kim, who requested to be recognized solely by her household title and spoke to CNN within the days main as much as a memorial held for the victims on Friday.

“I received separated from (Ji-min) as two different males walked between us. When that occurred, I misplaced my loafers however my ft weren’t touching the bottom and I used to be simply being moved by the gang.”

Official sources time the deadly crush as starting at 10:15 p.m., simply eight minutes after Ji-min’s remaining selfie. All 158 deaths passed off within the alleyway – about 4 meters (13 ft) huge – that the 2 younger ladies had been swept into. Along with the various younger South Koreans and 26 foreigners who died, 196 individuals had been injured – Kim amongst them.

A photo of Ji-min and fellow revelers taken just minutes before the fatal crush. CNN obscured portions of this image to protect the identity of people in the background who did not consent to be photographed.

“Somebody in entrance me fell and I fell down too,” Kim stated. “The following factor I noticed was that I used to be mendacity on high of a overseas man and folks piled on high of me and others. I used to be on the second layer of that pile.”

Hope got here when she noticed a face of a paramedic in entrance of her. He tried to tug out a girl however each time her physique moved the pile of individuals screamed.

“We had been already pressed however the try to tug her added extra ache to us, so he needed to cease,” Kim stated.

One police officer who attended the scene stated by the point he arrived there was already a pile of our bodies within the alleyway.

“We couldn’t pull individuals out from the underside, there was an excessive amount of stress, I assume that they had already died,” stated the officer, who requested anonymity resulting from worry of retribution from superiors.

“Folks within the second and third layers had been fading, crying out for assist, however we couldn’t pull them out.”

His account tallies with that of a primary responder who informed CNN they noticed as much as “10 rows of faces (however) we couldn’t even see their legs.”

Kim’s recollection of her personal rescue is hazy. “I used to be pulled out and I spent a while mendacity on the bottom. I believe I misplaced myself for someday and awakened once more. It was round 12:30 a.m. after I was moved in an ambulance.”

“I used to be hospitalized for one night time and discharged. I couldn’t stroll till the following morning. I pinched my legs however didn’t really feel something. I left hospital however I couldn’t really feel my legs for about 10 days.”

screengrab south korea investigation

Video investigation: How an evening of celebrations turns right into a catastrophe

Ji-min’s mom, Kim Eun-mi, had no thought her daughter was in Itaewon. She started to fret as a result of Ji-min all the time got here dwelling early from an evening out.

“I met Ji-min for procuring that day because it was Saturday. After procuring we had lunch collectively and she or he was off to see her buddy. So after I heard from my son that she went to Itaewon, I stated, ‘no, she went to see her buddy.’”

All via the night time, the household made frantic calls to Ji-min’s cellular phone, hospitals and the police, visiting her close by flat in case she had already come dwelling.

At 1 p.m. the next afternoon the household obtained a name asking them to come back and determine Ji-min’s physique at a hospital morgue.

“It’s really devastating to determine your individual baby,” Kim Eun-mi stated. In between sobs, her husband added, “Once I go to mattress… that picture involves me so I can’t sleep.”

The household go to see Ji-min on a regular basis on the memorial park, near dwelling. On each sleepless night time, Ji-min’s mother and father go to an internet chat room that brings collectively relations of those that misplaced their family members within the tragedy.

Kim Eun-mi stated it’s useful to speak to others in the identical scenario as a result of solely they’ll perceive one another’s ache.

Bereaved father Oh Il-seok and mother Kim Eun-mi in Siheung City, Gyeonggi province, South Korea, on Dec. 14, 2022.

Grief is changing into clouded with unanswered questions and anger within the dwelling the place Ji-min grew up.

“The toughest and most irritating half is that nobody is held accountable. The tragedy occurred, however nobody is accountable,” Kim Eun-mi stated.

A consultative group fashioned by the bereaved households of greater than 97 victims of the crush has known as for a proper apology from President Yoon Suk Yeol and demanded the dismissal of the nation’s security minister for failing to stop a tragedy.

Whereas Yoon has expressed his “condolences” to the households, he has stopped wanting an apology – saying that “people who find themselves particularly accountable” ought to be held accountable.

Security Minister Lee Sang-min, talking on Oct. 30, stated the tragedy couldn’t have been prevented by dispatching police or fireplace division forces prematurely.

A particular investigation is ongoing inside the Nationwide Police Company however a parliamentary investigation has but to start resulting from political infighting.

To date, two cops have been dismissed and arrested, accused of destroying an inside report in regards to the dangers stemming from a big crowd gathering in Itaewon throughout Halloween festivities.

The previous chief police officer of Yongsan district Lee Im-jae is being investigated on suspicion {of professional} negligence and forging an official doc, whereas the previous emergency monitoring officer Tune Byung-joo is being investigated on suspicion {of professional} negligence.

The police officer who spoke to CNN stated he’s involved by the course the investigation seems to be taking. He fears it’s too targeted on errors made after the tragedy somewhat than the shortage of security planning forward of time.

screengrab will ripley walk and talk

CNN reporter returns to Itaewon’s slim alley in the future after the Halloween catastrophe. See what’s it like

“The issue with this now’s that the individuals who ought to actually be accountable usually are not taking accountability. The course of the investigation will not be wanting up, solely down,” stated the police officer.

“There might have been errors making an attempt to avoid wasting only one extra life however for those who blame us, who would need to do that job.”

Ji-min’s mother and father stated they’ve heard nothing from the federal government since their daughter’s funeral was held.

Politics has no place within the investigation, they stated. They need information about how and the place their daughter died and solutions to the harder query of why.

As they give the impression of being via a field of birthday playing cards and images with mates retrieved from her daughter’s flat, they wrestle with the life-changing tragedy that ought to by no means have occurred.

“She was so heat and beautiful,” Kim Eun-mi stated of her daughter. “She was such a stunning daughter to me however she’s not with me anymore.”

Her voice falters as sobs overtake her as soon as once more.

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Halo, Saya adalah penulis artikel dengan judul South Korea, Itaewon crush: Selfies help families piece together tragedy that killed 158 yang dipublish pada December 19, 2022 di website Enchantress Magazine

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