December 01, 2022 11:19
Two persons who made 119 emergency calls during the deadly Halloween stampede in Itaewon eventually died in the crush, it emerged Wednesday.
They called emergency services pleading for help at 10:42 p.m. and 11:01 p.m. on Oct. 29, long after the crowd surge began at 10:15 p.m.
Investigators at the National Police Agency said the timeline is dramatic evidence of how slowly police and firefighting authorities responded that night.
Investigators believe it would have been possible to reduce casualties if police and firefighters had responded promptly in the initial stage of the crowd surge, given the fact that the two urgent callers were still alive for up to 45 minutes after it started.
"We believe that it would still have been possible to reduce fatalities or at least minimize injuries after 10:15 p.m.," investigation spokesman Kim Dong-wook told reporters.
According to the National Fire Agency, a total of 100 urgent calls were made to 119 from 10:15 p.m. to 00:56 a.m. It was found that the two callers who died no longer answered questions from duty officers once their calls were connected to the situation room.
"Rescue efforts should have continued even after 10:15 p.m.," Kim added. "We're trying to find out if rescue officers responded properly before and after the stampede."
Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in the crush has increased to 158 as a woman in her 20s died in hospital on Nov. 14. Three of the 196 injured were still in hospital on Wednesday.
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