SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korea moved to calm public outrage on Tuesday over a Halloween party crush that killed more than 150 people, most of them young, promising a speedy and intensive inquiry and calling for tough new safety measures to prevent similar disasters.
The death toll from the crush at a crowded Halloween street party on Saturday climbed to 156 with 151 injured, 29 of whom were in serious condition. At least 26 citizens from 14 countries were among the dead.
Tens of thousands of revellers – many in their teens and twenties and dressed in costume – had crowded into narrow streets and alleyways of the popular Itaewon district for the first virtually unrestricted Halloween festivities in three years.
The country’s chief security officer, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min, apologised on Tuesday, vowing to find out the cause of the incident and prevent similar cases from recurring.
“As the minister overseeing the safety of the public, I express sincere apologies over the incident,” Lee said, adding that the government had “limitless responsibility over the safety of our people” as he addressed a parliamentary session televised live.