LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A University of Kentucky student who was studying in South Korea was one of more than 150 people killed when a huge Halloween party crowd surged into a narrow alley in a nightlife district in Seoul, the school said Sunday.
Anne Gieske, a nursing student from northern Kentucky, died in the crush of people in the Itaewon area of Seoul on Saturday night, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said in a statement posted on the school’s website.
Gieske was studying in South Korea this semester with an education abroad program, Capilouto said. The university also has two other students and a faculty member there, but they have been contacted and they are safe, he said.
“We have been in contact with Anne’s family and will provide whatever support we can — now and in the days ahead — as they cope with this indescribable loss,” the statement said.
The university is located in Lexington, Kentucky. The school has offered online and phone resources for students who are grieving, including the services of a mental health clinician. The university has nearly 80 students from South Korea, the statement said.
“As a community, it is a sacred responsibility we must keep — to be there for each other in moments of sheer joy and in those of deepest sadness,” Capilouto said. “That is what compassionate communities do.”
It remained unclear what led the crowd to surge into the downhill alley, and authorities promised a thorough investigation. Witnesses said people fell on each other “like dominoes,” and some victims were bleeding from their noses and mouths while being given CPR.