As a result of a stampede in a market in Seoul, South Korea, at least 151 people have been found dead, and 150 others have been injured. A crowd of about a lakh people had assembled in Itaewon, a megacity area with numerous stores and tiny streets. The crowd had gathered to celebrate Halloween publicly.
While emergency services were pressed to mitigate the disaster, they fell a little short of preventing it or mitigating it to a large extent.
This is not the first time that a stampede has cost human lives. Several stampedes have been recorded in history to have caused the deaths of people. They are as follows:
Jerusalem, AD 66
Flavius Josephus, a Roman-Jewish historian, wrote in AD 80 that in AD 66, near the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War, a Roman soldier mooned Jewish pilgrims gathered for Passover at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and “spoke such words as you might expect upon such a posture,” causing a riot in which youths threw stones at the soldiers, who then called in reinforcements. According to reports, the pilgrims panicked, and the resulting stampede killed ten thousand Jews.
On September 24, 2015, a stampede killed around 2400 Muslim pilgrims during the Hajj. It happened in the Mina valley, approximately three kilometres from Mecca, with two million people participating. Mina is the location of the Jamarat, a four-level pedestrian bridge with pillars that pilgrims “stone” with pebbles to reject the devil. The disaster’s cause is still being debated. According to the Saudi Interior Ministry, the stampede occurred when two huge groups of pilgrims converged from opposite directions on the same roadway.
In 1954, Prayagraj hosted the first Kumbh Mela after independence. The celebration occurs every 12 years. Thus, a large audience gathered to witness a gathering of politicians and holy men. The people were packed into a short strip of land on the Ganges River, with little room to move and no place to contain the expanding multitude. Due to poor crowd control, the throng burst a series of barriers, resulting in a stampede that killed around 800 people. Another stampede occurred in Allahabad in 2013, killing 36 people.
On August 31, 2005, approximately one million pilgrims marched toward a shrine in northern Baghdad. The crowd had to cross the Tigris River through a bridge. The crowd was already anxious due to a mortar bombardment earlier that day, so a rumour of suicide bombers was all it took to spark panic.
As a result, thousands of people rushed toward the barricaded bridge, causing a tremendous crash. People were trampled, crushed against the bridge’s walls, or thrown into the river. In total, 965 persons were killed or drowned.
Rhode Island, 2003:
A heavy metal band, Great White’s February 2003 club event turned into a stampede when illegal pyrotechnics ignited sound insulation foam on the roof of the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. In five minutes, the fire swept across the club, and the crowd (which was already at over capacity) surged toward the front entrance. One hundred people were killed, and 200 were injured due to the stampede, fire, and smoke inhalation. Following a series of arrests and lawsuits, the club owners and band manager were imprisoned.