Mexican survivor of Seoul Halloween crush feared she’d die in Itaewon

Explanation

Juliana Velandia Santaella took a photo of young women wearing bananas, hot dogs and french fries on the streets of Itaewon at 10:08 pm Saturday night. He then decided to return home, going down a narrow path where he would escape his death through a hole.

The 23-year-old Mexican medical student began to feel pressured by the crowd, which slowly pushed hundreds of people along the road that became the center of a crash that left at least 154 dead and 149 injured. they are injured. His injuries, which landed him in the emergency room and continue to debilitate him, show what can happen during a dangerous crowd trauma.

Velandia had broken up with her friend, 21-year-old Carolina Cano from Mexico, and began to feel the weight of other people weighing her down. He said: “At one point, my feet were no longer on the ground. There was an unconscious guy on top of me, which affected my breathing.

Velandia concentrated on breathing shallowly through her mouth as her lungs began to feel flattened. He said that people around him were screaming for help or calling the police, but then they gradually fell silent as their bodies moved above and below him. Trapped in the crowd, he remembers being able to move his neck freely while the rest of his body was restrained.

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“I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll follow.’ I really thought I was going to die,” he said. “I was completely paralyzed. At one point, I couldn’t feel my legs. I couldn’t even move my toes.”

He was stuck like that, unable to feel any part of his body, until a young man standing on a high ledge grabbed his hands and pulled him through the crowd. He said he was able to check his phone and saw that it was 10:57 at night

After a few minutes, he started to feel pain in his legs. However, “there were so many unconscious bodies on the ground that I couldn’t even walk,” he said.

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He was able to return home, but on Sunday, he developed a fever and spent four hours in the emergency room at St. Mary’s at the Catholic University of Korea, where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition involving the muscles. injury and necrosis as cells – in the case of Velandia, in the leg – begin to die. Muscle tissue releases proteins and electrolytes from the blood and can damage the heart or kidneys or cause permanent disability or death. On Friday, doctors will check his kidneys for damage. Speaking from her bedroom on Monday, she said the pain was getting worse. One leg is swollen and purple, and he can’t put the whole leg down while walking.

Even now, his chest hurts if he takes a deep breath.

G. Keith Still, a crowd safety expert and visiting professor of humanities at the University of Suffolk in Britain, told The Post that asphyxia that compresses or restricts a person is the most likely cause of death. many were killed by the mob. It takes about six minutes for people to get into this state if their lungs don’t have room to expand.

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He said: “People don’t die because they are scared. They are afraid because they are dying. So what happens is, when the body falls, when people fall up, people struggle to get up and you end up with twisted arms and legs.”

According to Velandia, many people were trying to move the body to a clear area to perform CPR while escaping the crowd. He said that some people who seemed lifeless were vomiting in their mouths and around them, giving the impression that they were drowning.

He found his friend, Cano, who had borrowed a stranger’s cell phone to call him. The two met in front of Itaewon Station, a place where many party-goers had started their Halloween night.

“We hugged each other and we cried a lot when we saw each other, because we thought the other was dead,” Velandia said. “It’s a miracle we’re alive, really.”

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