Grief-stricken and angry South Korean parents bid final goodbyes to Halloween disaster victims

3 weeks ago 17

[1/5] Jung Jae-moon, 62, begetter of Jung Joo-hee, 30, who was 1 of the victims of a assemblage crush that happened during Halloween festivities, leaves his daughter's sedate holding her portrait, successful Namyangju, South Korea, November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL, Nov 3 (Reuters) - "Dad, I'm going out" were the past words Jung Hae-moon heard his girl utter, astatine the extremity of a chat they had connected the telephone connected Saturday arsenic she turned down an invitation to dinner.

Hours later, 30-year-old Jung Joo-hee was among 156 people, astir of them successful their teens and twenties, killed successful the South Korean superior portion celebrating Halloween escaped of COVID restrictions for the archetypal clip successful 3 years.

On Thursday, the young woman's household buried her ashes successful a peaceful household crippled extracurricular Seoul, with a planted sapling and bouquets by her sedate chromatic and a sombre ceremonial of prayers and tears.

"Rest well. Mum and dada volition travel spot you," Jung Hae-moon said arsenic the household stood by, unneurotic with his daughter's favored poodle.

As quality of the catastrophe unfolded connected Saturday, Jung Hae-moon dashed to Itaewon, a territory of constrictive streets afloat of bars and boutiques, to beryllium met with chaos arsenic distraught youngsters milled astir successful their Halloween costumes and rows of ambulances collected victims.

More than 12 hours later, helium recovered Joo-hee successful a morgue, lifeless, swollen and bruised.

Joo-hee's mother, Lee Hyo-sook, said her girl was a delight, a champion person who loved animals and wine.

"The abstraction she leaves is excessively big. The spot she near successful the household is excessively much, the emptiness," Lee told Reuters aft the funeral, speaking astatine a cafe that Joo-hee ran.

The cafe is closed with a motion successful achromatic reading: "In mourning."

The anguish of Joo-hee's household is being felt by each of the 156 bereaved families arsenic a accepted three-day aftermath comes to an extremity and their loved 1 is placed successful a coffin to beryllium viewed for the past clip earlier burial oregon cremation.

Their grief is being shared by the region arsenic a full struggling to travel to presumption with the catastrophe that ended truthful galore young lives connected what should person been an evening of fun.

Of the 156 dead, 101 were female, the authorities said.

Another grieving father, Song Jae-woong, said his daughter, Young-ju, 24, was a gentle psyche who was speedy to befriend classmates, much than 200 of whom came to her funeral.

Young-ju had dreamed of becoming an actress, her begetter said, speaking astatine a ceremonial location successful Seoul.

"Then, things turned retired similar this," Song said.

"Her friends told maine that my girl had a wont of seeking retired and befriending anyone. She had a benignant soul."

"It’s each implicit now."


Some families had nary thought their children were adjacent successful the assemblage successful the Itaewon amusement territory connected Saturday evening.

"I had nary thought she was there. It was impossible, I couldn't judge it," Lim's begetter said astatine a ceremonial location arsenic helium and his household observed ceremonial rites.

The begetter asked that helium and his girl beryllium identified by conscionable their household name, Lim.

The antheral usually lives overseas and had not seen their lone kid for 3 years arsenic COVID disrupted travel. He archetypal heard of the catastrophe erstwhile an acquaintance sent him a substance connection astir it, with neither knowing the girl was caught up successful it.

Struggling with grief, helium pulled retired his telephone to amusement the message.

"She was truthful originative and pretty," the antheral said, adding that helium had often strolled with his girl done Itaewon. He utilized to parkland their car astatine the Hamilton Hotel adjacent to the alley wherever Lim died.

"I cognize that thoroughfare precise well."

For galore parents, choler is seething with the grief.

They wonderment wherefore their children were celebrating Halloween successful the archetypal place, a wholly overseas conception for older Koreans.

But the biggest question for galore of those mourning their children is wherefore nary information measures were enforced to power the crowd.

"I americium beyond angry. It is outrageous due to the fact that successful immoderate exigency situation, the state should support its radical and support them safe," said Lee, the parent of Joo-hee.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang, Ju-min Park, Jihoon Lee, Hyunyoung Yi, Dogyun Kim, Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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