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Monday, December 5, 2022
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Monday, December 5, 2022
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    After tragic crush, lost shoes await owners at Seoul gym

    Kim Tong-hyung

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – Days after over 150 Halloween revellers died in South Korea’s deadliest crowd surge, a quiet but wrenching reminder of the disaster remained yesterday: Hundreds of abandoned shoes have been laid out in neat rows in a badminton court in the capital Seoul.

    Police assembled the crumpled tennis shoes, loafers and Chuck Taylors – part of 1.5 tonnes of personal objects left by victims and survivors of the tragedy – in hopes that the owners, or their friends and family, will retrieve them.

    Most of the victims were women and many of them were missing shoes, which experts said reflects the force of a crowd surge that stripped footwear from their feet in the crush.

    Some 250 pairs of shoes at the gym are part of a huge collection of abandoned items found in Itaewon following the tragedy.

    There are also hundreds of pieces of clothing, including coats and movie character costumes, as well as handbags, smartphones, Bluetooth earpieces and a few passports, including at least one belonging to a United States citizen.

    Yongsan police officials, who will keep the gym open for 24 hours until Sunday, didn’t immediately confirm how many of the items have been returned to their owners.

    As of yesterday afternoon, 156 people were confirmed dead and 151 were being treated for injuries, with 29 of them in critical condition.

    Officials said 26 of the dead were foreign nationals, including five Iranians, four Chinese, four Russians, two Americans and two Japanese citizens.

    Shoes are seen among a huge collection of items found in Itaewon following South Korea’s deadliest crowd surge, at a temporary lost and found centre at a gym in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP
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