Two Americans Killed in Seoul Halloween Stampede Identified

Anne Gieske and Steven Blesi were identified as two US citizens among those killed after a Halloween stampede killed more than 150 people in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood on Saturday.

Blesi is a student at Kennesaw State University and only two months into a study abroad program in Korea. According to reports, he had long dreamed of going to school in the eastern US, but was delayed for several years while the pandemic limited international travel, based on washington articles. The Georgia native finally realized this milestone in August, when he boarded a plane from Atlanta to Seoul. He has a passion for international business and aspires to be multilingual and work in East Asia.

“It was like being stabbed like a hundred million times at once,” said Blesi’s father, Steve New York Times. “It’s like your world just fell apart. It paralyzes and wreaks havoc all at once.”

Blesi attended traditional festivals dressed in black sans, according to his father.

“I texted him maybe half an hour before all this happened, and I said, ‘I know you’re away. Be safe,” Steve Blesi told the outlet. “I never got an answer for that.”

Gieske, a 20-year-old nursing student from the University of Kentucky, had just celebrated her birthday on October 28 in South Korea’s capital city, days before the incident. She is also studying abroad, along with two other students and a lecturer. According to a statement by the university’s principal, Eli Capilouto, they have been confirmed to be safe.

Capilouto wrote: “The University of Kentucky community is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our students, Anne Gieske, who was studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea and was killed in the tragedy this weekend. “We have been in contact with her family and will support whatever we can — now and in the days to come — as they cope with this indescribable loss.” (The Daily Beast has reached out to both families for comment.)

More than 20 foreign nationals from 10 different countries took part in the horrific tragedy on Saturday night, when 100,000 people celebrated the holiday in the county. The majority of those who died were in their 20s and 30s.

“Jill and I are heartbroken to learn that at least two Americans are among the many who have lost their lives in Seoul,” Biden said Sunday. “Our hearts go out to their loved ones during this time of grief, and we continue to pray for the recovery of all those injured.”

This is an evolving story.

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