23 May, 2024
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Australian Seoul victim identified as Grace Rached, 23

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The Australian Seoul victim crushed to death in a mass-casualty event during Halloween celebrations has been identified as Grace Rached.

The 23-year-old was dressed as Audrey Hepburn while enjoying Halloween with her friends in popular Seoul neighbourhood, Itaewon, before she was caught in a deadly human stampede.

With her hair pulled up with a fake tiara and pearls around her neck, the Ms Rached pouted and danced for a TikTok video hours before the night took a deadly turn.

Her friend Nathan Taverniti joked that Ms Rached was going out to the Itaewon night district as the “breakfast in Breakfast at Tiffany’s“.

Having fun like Audrey Hepburn for Halloween. Photo: TikTok

The production assistant was a graduate of Canterbury Girls High School in Sydney’s southwest, a school co-captain and a leader of the graduating class of 2016, according to media reports.

She was considered a high achiever and future leader.

Her recent social media posts show fun-filled trips to Indonesia’s Lombok tourist island and Mexico.

Australian Seoul victim’s final hours

Ms Rached’s death was confirmed after one of her friends, Nathan Taverniti, described the nightmare that unfolded when the group realised they were caught up in a bad situation.

Mr Taverniti said they were in a narrow alley where the crowd crush happened and “all I could see was a wall of people”.

“I just can’t believe it. I was in the front of where it happened,” he told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Grace Rached would have turned 24 in 12 weeks according to one of her friends. Photo: Facebook/Grace Rached

“There was no stampede,” he said.

“It was a slow and agonising crush.

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

Search continues for missing victims

Hundreds of distraught people in South Korea are still searching for missing relatives as the death toll rose to 154.

More than 20 foreign nationals from 15 countries, including Australia, died in the Halloween crowd crush in South Korea.

A ministry official said the dead also included people from America, Iran, Norway, China and Russia.

Two Japanese nationals, a woman in her twenties and another woman between the age of 10 and 19, were also confirmed to have died in the crush, an official at Japan’s foreign ministry said.

At least four Chinese nationals were among those killed, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in Seoul.

Four Russian citizens died, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, citing the Russian embassy in South Korea.

Frightened victims ‘laughed’

Witness Ken Fallas told AP he couldn’t process what was happening.

Mr Fallas, a Costa Rican architect who has worked in Seoul for the past eight years, said Saturday’s festivities were a long-awaited occasion to hang out with fellow expats following years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Instead, the 32-year-old became a witness to one of the most horrific disasters South Korea has seen in recent years.

He said police and emergency workers were constantly pleading with people to step up if they knew how to give CPR because they were overwhelmed by the large number of the injured laid out on the street.

“I saw a lot of [young] people laughing, but I don’t think they were [really] laughing because, you know, what’s funny?” Mr Fallas said.

“They were laughing because they were too scared. Because to be in front of a thing like that is not easy. Not everyone knows how to process that.”

Bodies were piled up in the popular night district. Photo: Getty

Mr Fallas said he and his friends were trapped among the huge throngs of people pushing toward the alley when police officers began breaking the lines from behind to approach the injured.

He said people near his group didn’t initially know what was happening.

“We were we were unable to move back. The music was loud. Nobody knew what was happening. People were still partying with the emergency happening in front of us,” he said.

“We were like, ‘What’s going on from here, where we can go?’

“There was no exit.”

-with AAP

The post Australian Seoul victim identified as Grace Rached, 23 appeared first on The New Daily.

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