Lost shoes left in Seoul’s murderous crowd await their owners: NPR
SEOUL, South Korea — A few days later more than 150 Halloween revelers have died In South Korea’s deadliest surge of crowds, a silent but heartbreaking reminder of the disaster remained on Tuesday: hundreds of discarded shoes were laid out in neat rows on a badminton court in the capital, Seoul.
Police collected the crumpled tennis shoes, loafers and Chuck Taylors – part of 1.5 tonnes of personal items left behind by victims and survivors of the tragedy – in the hope that the owners, or their friends and their families, pick them up.
The Deadly Crush Around Itaewon nightlife district happened after tens of thousands of people gathered for Halloween celebrations on Saturday night. Part of the crowd squeezed into a narrow downhill lane between a dense row of storefronts and the neighborhood’s iconic Hamilton Hotel. Revelers were seen carrying the injured and dead, while dozens of lifeless bodies covered in blankets were laid out in rows on the nearby sidewalk.
Most of the victims were women and many of them lacked shoes, which experts say reflects the force of a mob ripping the shoes off their feet in the crush.
Some 250 pairs of gymnasium shoes are part of a large collection of discarded items found in Itaewon following the tragedy. There are also hundreds of items of clothing, including coats and costumes of movie characters, as well as purses, smartphones, Bluetooth headsets and a few passports, including at least one belonging to a US citizen.
Yongsan police officials, who will keep the gymnasium open until Sunday, did not immediately confirm how many items were returned to their owners.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 156 people were confirmed dead and 151 were being treated for injuries, including 29 in critical condition. Officials said 26 of the dead were foreign nationals, including five Iranians, four Chinese, four Russians, two Americans and two Japanese.