University of Kentucky student among at least 153 dead in Seoul crowd crash

A University of Kentucky student is among at least 153 people and one of two Americans killed in a crowd crash in Seoul, South Korea this weekend, the school announced Sunday afternoon.

Anne Gieske, a third-year nursing student from Northern Kentucky, was among those killed in the crowd crush, university president Eli Capilouto announced at the school on Sunday.

Gieske was from Northern Kentucky and was studying abroad in South Korea this semester, Capilouto said.

Two other University of Kentucky students and a faculty member also overseas in South Korea are safe, the president wrote.

Capilouto said school officials “have been in contact with Anne’s family and will provide whatever support we can — now and in the coming days — as they deal with this unspeakable loss.”

He added that university officials also pledged to support the student body grieving the loss of Gieske as well as about 80 South Korean students who study at the school and “will need our support.”

“There are no adequate or appropriate words to describe the pain of a beautiful life cut short,” Capiluto wrote of Gieske’s death. “It’s not fair, nor is it understandable. It’s a loss and it hurts in ways that are impossible to articulate.”

The identity of the second American victim remains unknown.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Seoul confirmed to NBC News on Sunday that two Americans were among the victims.

“Our staff in Seoul and our colleagues in the United States are working tirelessly to provide consular assistance to the victims of last night’s incident and their families,” the spokesman said.

The embassy did not release details about the victims, such as their ages or identities.

The Yongsan Fire Department said in a statement that the other foreign victims were from China, Iran, France, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Norway, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Austria and Kazakhstan. Most of the victims were people in their late teens and 20s, said Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan Fire Department.

The crowd crush unfolded when a crowd gathered in a narrow alley in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood, where about 100,000 people gathered to celebrate Halloween, officials said.

Although the incident was initially described as a riot, the video appears to depict a crowd surge, a wave of people pushing forward through a packed crowd.

At least 103 people were injured, 23 of them in critical condition, officials said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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