At least 153 people have been killed and 82 injured in a shooting at a Halloween crowd in Seoul, South Korean officials said, as the death toll rose.
The victims are mostly in their 20s, according to the National Fire Agency. ABC News confirmed that two of the 19 foreigners who died were Americans.
Ann Giske, a student at the University of Kentucky, was among the victims, school president Eli Capilloto said in a statement Sunday.
“Anne, a nursing junior from Northern Kentucky, was studying in South Korea this semester in a study abroad program. We have two other students and a faculty member there this semester. They are in contact and are safe,” Capillouto said. .
He added: “We have reached out to Anne’s family and will do all we can to support them – now and in the coming days – as they cope with this indescribable loss. “We will be there for those in our community who know and love Ann. We also have around 80 students from South Korea in the UK – members of our community – who need our support.”
Steven Blasey, 20, from Georgia, was identified as one of the victims.
“The world is a darker place without Steven,” his father, Steve Blasey, told ABC News.
“We received a call last night that no parent should ever receive. Our precious son, Steven, has died in this horrific incident while studying abroad in South Korea for a semester. We are deeply saddened and ask for your prayers,” Steve Blasey said in a statement.
Kennesaw State University, where Steven Blasey was a student, also released a statement, saying he was an international business major and one of 11 students from the university in South Korea. The other students were reported safe, KSU said.
“On behalf of the entire Kennesaw State community, our thoughts and prayers go out to Steven’s family and friends as they grieve this incomprehensible loss,” said President Kathy Schweig. “We have met with Steven’s family and offered all the resources of the university.”
More deaths are feared in the conflict, which officials say has left 120 dead and 100 injured.
Several victims were transported to area hospitals after emergency CPR, the agency said.
The accident occurred on Saturday night in Itawan entertainment district when a large crowd pushed forward on the narrow streets of the area, according to witnesses.
The incident was first reported around 10:20 a.m. local time, officials said. Because of the crowd, it took time for rescue workers to respond.
Over 100,000 people gathered for a Halloween party in an area known for its nightclubs. The area has bars located along the main street along the narrow back streets. According to witnesses, people were stuck on these crooked, flat roads.
Video from the scene shows a massive emergency and police response in the district with dozens of people, some in plain clothes, on the scene. CPR is performed on the street.
Officials said the cause of the crowding is under investigation.
‘It got really scary’
Janelle Story, an American living in South Korea since 2016, told ABC News that the area is often crowded, especially on Halloween. But this was “another level”.
“It’s the first time we’ve been able to go out since the outbreak,” she said. “Itaewon is really famous for being crowded, but this was a level I’ve never seen before.”
She said Tariq and her friend were bar-hopping when she started filming the crowd around 10:30 p.m.
“That’s when I saw this crowd in front of me who like to run and push and move fast and then scream and panic,” she said. “We were just like standing still and slowing down. And then it just happened. Bam! This wall of people came at us.”
“I stopped filming because it was so scary,” she continued.
The story says she heard other viewers talking about people fainting. As they tried to make their way to the subway station, they saw machine guns, ambulances and police cars before making it home safely.
“I can’t believe this happened, I don’t know how,” she said. “This feels like a spontaneous event.”
America has given its support to South Korea because of the disaster.
“The reports coming out of Seoul are very sad,” White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan said. He said on Twitter.. “While thinking of all those who have lost loved ones, we hope for a speedy recovery for those injured. The United States stands ready to provide whatever support the Republic of Korea needs.”
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden expressed their “deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul.”
“We sympathize with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to all those affected,” the president said in a statement. “The cooperation between our two countries has never been stronger or more important – and the bond between our peoples is stronger than ever. The United States stands by the Republic of Korea at this tragic time.”
ABC News’ Nicholas Sirone contributed to this report.