Asia

Second Aussie dies after Korean crush


A second Australian victim of the South Korean Halloween crowd crush has succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the horrific event.

The young woman is believed to have died in hospital bringing the death toll of the Itaewon crush in Seoul to 156.

DFAT has confirmed to NCA Newswire that the second victim is an Australian national.

It comes after 23-year-old Grace Rached – who was 12 days shy of celebrating her 24th birthday – was killed while still stuck in the crush.

At 10pm local time on October 29, hundreds of young partygoers became trapped as the crowd crammed into a tight downhill street in the heart of the Itaewon party district.

Ms Rached was on holiday in South Korea with friends, including Nathan Taverniti, who took to TikTok in the hours after her death to share what he had witnessed.

“I was there when she said she couldn‘t breathe and I grabbed one of my friends’ hands,” Taverniti said between tears.

Friends Justina Cho and Kim Yerim were also there on that fateful night and were in a critical condition in hospital.

Ms Rached’s family said she was a talented film producer who was passionate about making a difference.

“She cared deeply about her two sisters and was a wonderful role model. Grace showed us all what it meant to be an incredible human being,” they said.

”We will all deeply miss our beautiful Grace, our life of the party.”

Mr Taverniti said he believed the incident was avoidable and was a result of the local authorities not preparing adequately for the crowd.

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“It was not a stampede, it was a slow, agonising crush,” he said.

“This crush was not caused by drunk people. It was lack of planning, police force and emergency services.

He said it took half an hour for police to arrive, another hour for reinforcements and even longer for other emergency services.

“Nobody was willing to help. I watched as people filmed and sang and laughed while my friends were dying, along with many other people,” he said.

“I was there trying to pull people out because there was not enough police officers and nobody was doing anything to make the crowd stop.

“We were yelling, we were saying “you have to go back, you have to turn around, people are dying”, but nobody was listening.

“There were people lying on the ground getting CPR, not by health professionals, by random people, whoever could.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the tragedy has impacted Ms Rached’s family in the harshest way possible.

“These were people who were out celebrating Halloween, out to have a good time and to come home safely,” he said.

“This tragedy has impacted people in South Korea in particular. But it has also impacted, in the harshest way possible, one Australian family and other Australians who were hurt in this incident.



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