First police calls were made four hours before Seoul’s Halloween crush turned deadly

The first calls for police about the crash in Seoul that killed more than 150 people came four hours before the incident became fatal.

Transcripts of the 11 emergency calls made in the previous hours reveal the growing fear of revelers and how they urged police to intervene as the Halloween party descended into chaos and tragedy.

The first warning of a possible deadly surge was made at 6:34 p.m. Saturday night, about four hours before the lightning strike became fatal.

National Police Commissioner-General Yoon Hee-keun on Tuesday acknowledged that crowd control at the scene was “inadequate” and revealed that police had received several reports of possible accidents on the night of the disaster.

The interior minister and the city’s mayor also apologized, as experts said proper crowd and traffic control could have prevented, or at least reduced, the outbreak.

The transcripts, released to the media, give a chilling prediction of how the tragedy would unfold.

“Looks like you can be crushed to death with people continuing to come up here when there’s no room for people to come down,” someone said in that first call to police.

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“I barely managed to leave but it’s too crowded, looks like you should come and check.”

Saturday’s crash killed 156 people, many in their teens and twenties, and injured 157 others as revelers flooded Itaewon’s narrow lanes to celebrate the first mostly unrestricted Halloween in three year.

Police received 10 more calls, all reporting it was too crowded, before it was known things had turned fatal.

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Transcripts appear to confirm the accounts of witnesses, who said they saw police directing traffic on the main road but few or no officers in the crowded pedestrian areas.

Around 100,000 people were estimated in Itaewon on Saturday, an area known for its hills and narrow lanes.

Authorities say there were 137 police there at the time.

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Personal items left behind by victims and survivors of the tragedy have been collected in the hope that the owners, or their friends and family, will recover them

Another transcript of a call made at 8:33 p.m. said: “People falling in the streets, looks like there could be an accident, it looks very dangerous.”

The last call from police came at 10:11 p.m., just minutes before people who had been crammed into a particularly narrow, sloping alleyway started falling on top of each other.

“(People) are going to be crushed to death here. It’s chaotic,” the transcript of that call reads, noting that screams were heard over the phone.

Read more: K-Pop singer and actor Lee Jihan, 24, killed in Halloween crowd crush in Seoul

Police attended the scene for four of the 11 calls, an official told reporters.

It was not immediately clear why they had not deployed officials for the other calls or what security measures they had taken after their arrival.

“These things are all under inspection now, so it’s difficult for me to respond at this stage,” a National Police Agency official said.

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National Police Agency Commissioner Yoon Hee-geun

“The police will promptly and rigorously carry out intensive inspections and investigations on all aspects without exception to explain the truth of this accident,” Police Commissioner Yoon said at a press conference earlier.

As police began investigating the number of people killed, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the investigation would also cover whether on-site responses from government agencies were appropriate.

President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a week of national mourning and called for better security measures to manage crowds even in the absence of a central organizing body.

The festivities in Itaewon had no central organizer, which meant that government authorities were not required to establish or enforce safety protocols.

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. police calls hours Seouls Halloween crush turned deadly