2 Americans Slain In South Korea Halloween Crowd Surge

On Sunday, the university confirmed that two American students were among the more than 150 people murdered after a large throng attending a Halloween party in a Seoul entertainment zone rushed into a small lane.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto stated in a statement posted on the school’s website that a nursing student from northern Kentucky named Anne Gieske died amid the crowds in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul on Saturday night.

Capilouto said that Gieske was participating in an education abroad program in South Korea for the current semester. Two additional students and a staff member from the institution are also in the area, but they have been reached and are well, he assured us.
Those close to Anne have been contacted, and “we will give whatever help we can – now and in the days ahead as they deal with this terrible loss,” the statement reads.

The city of Lexington, Kentucky is home to the university. For students who are experiencing grief, the institution has made a mental health clinician and a number of online and phone options available. According to the release, the institution is home to almost 80 students originally from South Korea.

Having one other’s backs “in times of absolute delight and in those of deepest grief” is “a sacred obligation we must uphold as a community,” as Capilouto put it. “That’s what kind neighborhoods are for.”

The father of one of the victims, Steve Blesi, revealed on Twitter that his son, Steven Blesi, 20, from Georgia, was the second American fatality.

According to Blesi’s father, Steve, “he’s always been an explorer.” He claimed to be an Eagle Scout with interests in basketball and foreign languages.

After waiting for word from his son, Blesi made an open request for information, writing, “If anybody has any news please share.” After receiving several messages of support and assistance, he tweeted: “We’re very sorry to tell you this, but we’ve just received confirmation that our kid passed away. To properly mourn, we need some space and time.”

Japanese media have reported that one of the two victims is Mei Tomikawa, a student of the Korean language in Seoul. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that her father, Ayumu Tomikawa, said that “she genuinely enjoyed South Korea and was enjoying her life there.” According to reports, he and his wife uprooted their lives and moved to Seoul, South Korea from Hokkaido, the northernmost major island of Japan.

On Sunday, President Yoon of South Korea ordered the national flag to be lowered to half-staff and a week of national mourning.

Authorities have pledged a comprehensive inquiry into what prompted the mob to stampede down the sloping lane. According to eyewitnesses, individuals fell on top of one other “like dominoes,” and several of the wounded were bleeding from their noses and lips while CPR was administered.

The government has reported that as of Monday morning, 153 of the 154 victims had been identified and their families notified. One hundred and eighty-eight (98) of the fatalities were female. As of now, 149 people are still listed as wounded, it was reported. According to authorities, 33 of the wounded are in critical condition, thus the death toll might increase further.

According to the notification from the Interior Ministry, more than 80% of the victims were in their twenties and thirties, while 11 were adolescents.

Twenty-six non-natives were also killed. According to the Ministry of the Interior, five are from Iran, four are from China, four are from Russia, two are from Japan, and one each comes from Australia, Norway, France, Austria, Vietnam, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Sri Lanka.

Bereaved relatives were expected to begin funeral preparations as body identifications approached completion. The government will assist the families of the deceased in whatever way they need, according to the officials.

 

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