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Extreme Overcrowding Alone May Have Triggered Seoul Tragedy

  • South Korea probes incident that killed more than 150 people
  • Forces from crowd surge strong enough to bend steel bars
Mourners leave flowers near the site of a deadly crowd crush in the Itaewon district of Seoul, on Oct. 31.
Mourners leave flowers near the site of a deadly crowd crush in the Itaewon district of Seoul, on Oct. 31.Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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As South Korea investigates its deadliest civilian crowd crush incident, experts say the density of people packed in a narrow and restricted alley may have reached a level that made such a disaster almost inevitable. 

Speculation has swirled on social media about who or what exactly triggered the crush that killed 155 people, but a culprit may have been the gradual buildup of people who came to celebrate Halloween in the nightlife district of Itaewon and found themselves trapped in a space where they were pressed so hard by those around them that they had trouble controlling their body movements.