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South Korea’s Halloween crush victims’ belongings fill the Tranquil Lost and Found Center


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SEOUL (Reuters) – A makeshift mortuary of some of the people who died at a Halloween party in South Korea has gone missing and found, with hundreds of items such as a “Happy Halloween” backpack and Minnie Mouse’s hair belt waiting for their owners.

Calm reigned at Wonhyoro Sports Center on Tuesday, after three days of stampede in the popular Itaewon area during Halloween celebrations, with a few people searching more than 800 missing items.

Five kilometers from the disaster site, the state-of-the-art sports facility was used in the early hours to keep the bodies of some of the 156 people crushed to death when a chaotic crowd poured into a narrow alley late Saturday. Read more

On Tuesday, 256 pairs of shoes, 258 items of clothing, 124 bags, 156 electronic items and other personal belongings, including key chains of stuffed animals and festive Halloween masks, were laid out.

Cell phones and ID cards were kept separately in a police station.

A survivor walked among things looking for her bag, her left leg in a cast from her injury that night. Couldn’t find what she was looking for.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said she and her friend were about to go home when the crowd swelled dangerously and he ended up in a large crowd moving forward in a narrow, steep alley. I got trapped near the bottom of the hill.

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“I was suffocated in the far lower part (of the alley), but I survived because my upper torso wasn’t pressed down,” she said. She said her friend was also rescued.

South Korea is going through a week of national mourning and senior officials on Tuesday vowed to answer questions about how the tragedy occurred and how the government could prevent similar disasters. Read more

The death toll was 156, including 151 wounded, 29 of whom were in serious condition. At least 26 citizens from 14 countries were among the dead.

A police officer told Reuters that the gym opened to its owners and family members on Monday to claim their lost belongings, but so far few have arrived.

Joo Min Park reports. Editing by Jack Kim and Jerry Doyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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