Vietnamese actor recalls fatal Halloween crush in Seoul

By Huong Giang   November 2, 2022 | 01:54 am PT
Vietnamese actor recalls fatal Halloween crush in Seoul
Rescue teams work at the scene where dozens of people were injured in a stampede during a Halloween festival in Seoul, South Korea, October 30, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Kim Hong-ji
"Every time I close my eyes, that scene pops up in my head. What I saw and heard haunted me," actor Hieu Nguyen recalled the deadly Halloween stampede in Itaewon on Oct. 29.

Hieu, who was in South Korea's Itaewon on the day, said: "I made it out of Itaewon. At the moment, I'm still terrified."

At least 153 people died in the stampede on October 29 as people rushed into a narrow alleyway in the packed nightlife area of Itaewon. This is the deadliest disaster in South Korea since the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014.

The actor said he traveled to South Korea with friends in late October. His group went to the Halloween festivities in Itaewon on October 29.

"We arrived in Itaewon early so we were strolling around the area. After a while, it kept getting more and more crowded. At 9 p.m., we decided to sit down at a bar on the street. At the time, I saw the crowd in front of me starting to push and shove each other," Hieu said.

"The stream of people from both ends of the street kept pouring in. I heard some say a celebrity had appeared there, while others said there was a fire at a nearby bar. I still don’t really know what was the cause of the stampede that night," he said.

When Hieu saw the crowd continue to push, shove and press each other, along with people saying things like "stop pushing or we will die" and "I’m suffocating," he had a bad feeling about this and told his friends to get out of Itaewon quickly.

"The chaos continued until the police stepped in. I only heard screaming, combined with police and ambulance sirens. It felt like I was facing hell. It was so haunting," he recalled.

"I can still feel the horror of that day and deeply mourn the ill-fated victims. They put on nice outfits and beautiful makeup to go out on Halloween without knowing that disaster was about to strike and that that night would be their last."

Since returning to Vietnam, Hieu said he still didn’t have the courage to read the news or turn on the TV. He didn’t even want to listen to his friends talking about the tragic accident in Itaewon.

Hieu, 32, is known for his roles in domestic movies like Huong Ga (Rise), Bo Ba Rac Roi (Triple Trouble), Lat Mat 2 (Face Off 2) and Truy Sat (Tracer).

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