South Korean actor and singer Lee Jihan was among the victims of a deadly crowd crush event in Seoul over the weekend.
At least 154 people died after a huge crowd gathered in Itaewon, Seoul to celebrate Halloween. More than 100 more people were left with series injuries as paramedics worked to save those with life-threatening injuries. 935 Entertainment shared news of Lee Jihan’s fate on Instagram early Sunday morning.
“I am heartbroken to [share] sad news,” the post begins. “Actor Lee Jihan, a precious family member of 935 Entertainment and 9 Ato Entertainment, has become a star in the sky and left us,” the announcement reads. It describes him as a “sweet and warm friend to all” who “shined beautifully with a passion for acting.”
Lee Jihan appeared in the South Korean singing competition from CJ E&M called Produce 101 back in 2017. He wasn’t ultimately chosen for the boy band Wanna One, but his appearance on the reality show helped launch his career. He went on to star in another South Korean TV series, “Today Was Another Nam Hyun Day,” playing the titular character–Shin Nam Hyun.
What happened during the Seoul Halloween crowd crush?
Experts argue that officials in Seoul weren’t properly prepared to handle the amount of Halloween revelers on the narrow streets. The police had just 137 officers to watch mostly for crimes–not direct the flow of people. “This is clearly a man-made disaster,” says Park Ji-hyun. “The government must take responsibility for failing to control the crowd, even when a bigger crowd was expected this year than last.”
South Korea’s Home Minister, Lee Sang-min, says police forces were stretched thin throughout the city. “I doubt that the problem in Itaewon could have been solved even if we dispatched police and firefighters in advance.” The specific area in Itaewon where the crowd crush event occurred has very narrow streets, where only a few people can pass comfortably.