An English teacher in Seoul who was passing through Itaewon on Saturday night recounted what she saw to CNN.
“There were rows and rows of people with tarps covering them in the street,” said Emily Farmer, 27.
Farmer, who was with two friends, said she did not see any crowd control measures in place in the area.
The tragedy has killed at least 151 people and left dozens more hurt. Nineteen foreign nationals, from Iran, Norway, China and Uzbekistan, are also among the dead.
Farmer and her friends were “overwhelmed” by the crowds on the street and decided to enter a bar.
Shortly after, rumors started spreading that somebody had died and patrons were not allowed to leave. Farmer said she received an emergency message from the government alerting them to “a dangerous situation in the area.”
She was allowed to leave the bar at around midnight and she learned of the tragedy that had taken place just outside.
“It was horrible,” she said. “Not everyone died instantly.”
“They were still pulling people (out) because it was so crowded,” she added.
Groups of people were crying, she added. Many victims were receiving CPR and had their costumes taken off to allow medics at the scene to resuscitate them.
She still hasn’t heard back from two acquaintances in the area whom she messaged last night. “I’m still in shock. It was obviously very traumatic,” she added.