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Korean Police Agree Crowd Control Where 150 Died Was 'Inadequate'

Transcripts of the 11 emergency calls made in the hours and minutes before a Halloween party crush killed more than 150 people in Seoul show the growing fear of revellers and how they urged the police to intervene, Reuters reports. The transcripts of emergency calls released by the police showed the first warning of a possible deadly surge was made at 6:34 p.m. on Saturday, four hours before the crush turned deadly. National Police Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun on Tuesday acknowledged that crowd control at the scene was "inadequate", noting that police had received multiple reports warning of possible accidents on the night of the disaster.

The interior minister and the city mayor also apologized. Proper crowd and traffic control by the authorities could have prevented or at least reduced the surge of partygoers, safety experts said. The call transcripts give a chilling prediction of how the tragedy would unfold. "Looks like you can get crushed to death with people keep coming up here while there's no room for people to go down," a citizen said in the first call. "I barely managed to leave but there are too many people, looks like you should come and control." The crush killed 156 people, many in their teens and 20s, and injured another 157 as revellers flooded the narrow alleyways of the popular Itaewon district to mark the first virtually unrestricted Halloween festivities in three years. About 100,000 people were estimated to be in Itaewon on Saturday, an area known for its hills and narrow alleys. There were 137 police officers there at the time.


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