Young woman becomes the second Aussie to die from Halloween crush

An Australian woman has tragically succumbed to her injuries in a South Korean hospital two weeks after she was caught up in the horrific Halloween crowd crush.

Justina Cho died on Tuesday after she was rushed to a hospital in Seoul in a critical condition on October 31 following the crush in the nightclub district of Itaewon.

She is the 156th person to die from the stampede, which saw hundreds of young people on a night out struggling to escape the slowly crushing crowds in the neighbourhood’s small streets.

Ms Cho was born in South Korea and moved to Australia when she was three years old.

Her tragic death comes less than two weeks after her sister Julia lashed out at authorities in a video and tragically predicted Justina’s devastating injuries meant she would ‘never get (her) sister back’.

Justina Cho (above) was announced dead on Tuesday morning after suffering injuries in the Halloween Itaewon crush

Australian Julia Cho (back left) visited Itaewon with her sister (back right) and friends Nathan Taverniti (front left) and Grace Rached (front right)

‘Local authorities were not on standby and left innocent people helpless, despite knowing there was an excessive amount of people in the streets with nowhere to go,’ she said in an emotional TikTok a day after the event. 

‘People were suffocating, toppling over one another and crushed.’

Julia, who is a tattoo artist in Sydney, shared a message to her Instagram on Tuesday following her sister’s death.

‘I am still overseas and my return date is not confirmed yet,’ she wrote.

‘I am trying my best in the midst of my grief.

‘My clients who are waiting, thank you for your patience.’ 

Justina’s tragic death comes two weeks after the death of her Australian friend, Grace Rached, who was just 12 days shy of celebrating her 24th birthday when she was killed in the incident. 

Justina (right) and her sister Julia (left) were in Itaewon with two friends to celebrate the Halloween Festival on the night of the crush

Justina’s death marks the 156th recorded from the tragic Itaewon Halloween Crush (pictured, emergency responders at the scene)

Justina’s sister Julia (above) shared a TikTok two week’s before her death saying she was scared she’d ‘never get (her) sister back’

Justina had only recently moved back to South Korea in the months before the crush and was showing her sister and two friends, Nathan Taverniti and Ms Rached, around Itaewon at the time of the crush.

Social media users flocked to Julia’s TikTok to offer their condolences.

‘I hope you get justice for the lack of effort on the government side,’ one person wrote.

Another said: ‘My heart hurts for your sister and friends and all those people who’ve lost someone tonight.’

‘This tragedy could’ve been avoided with better safety measures.’

Mr Taverniti also shared a gut-wrenching account of the night on TikTok where he described trying to rescue Ms Rached from the crowd before losing her. 

‘I was there when she said she couldn’t breathe and I grabbed one of my friend’s hands,’ he said.

‘There was no stampede, it was a slow and agonising crush.’

He earlier told a South Korean newspaper that: ‘All I could see was a wall of people … it was impossible (to save her).’

Ms Cho is the second Australian to die from the Itaewon crush, following the death of her friend Grace Rached (above)

Police received the first call from a worried reveler shortly after 6.30pm local time, several hours before the deadly crush (pictured, a  memorial with the first phone call time)

He said he later saw Ms Rached being carried from the scene on a stretcher. 

This year was the first time the highly-anticipated Seoul’s Halloween Festival was held in full since Covid lockdowns.

Police received the first call from a worried reveller shortly after 6.30pm local time before the full crush developed at about 10.20pm.

Officials confirmed dozens of revellers went into cardiac arrest at the scene with horrific photos and footage showing the streets and train station around the crush lined with bodies.

According to local emergency responders, most of the victims were women in their early 20s and teenagers.

Officials believe the crush was the result of a massive crowd flooding a narrow street near Hamilton Hotel, a local party hotspot, after hearing rumours of a celebrity sighting.

Horrific photos and videos from the crush (above) show dozens struggling to breath and free themselves from the crowd

Ms Cho’s sister blames poor management from authorities for Ms Cho’s injuries (pictured, the scene of the crush the following day)

Dozens of people were given CPR on Itaewon’s streets while many others were rushed to nearby hospitals. 

Photographs and videos on social media show horrific scenes of panic in the aftermath of the crush as people tried to flee.

One particularly distressing video showed dozens of people struggling to breathe and stay on their feet in the crowd as rescue workers struggled to free the severely injured.

More than 1,700 emergency workers were deployed from across South Korea to respond to one of the deadliest crowd crushes in recent history.

More footage overlooking the street showed dozens of emergency responders working desperately to administer CPR to victims lying on the street.

Hundreds of police officers had been deployed to the area in advance of the Halloween party in anticipation of the large crowds but reportedly struggled to keep control in the minutes before the tragedy unfolded.

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