Singer Kim C, a resident of Itaewon, talked about the Itaewon disaster he witnessed and felt by himself.
Appearing in the hook interview section of KBS1 radio’s “Joo Jin-woo Live”, which aired on November 1st, with his voice only, Kim C expressed his regrets at the fact that the Itaewon disaster could have been prevented.
On the broadcast, Joo Jin-woo connected with Kim C and introduced, “Let’s meet singer Kim C, who has lived near Itaewon for a long time and witnessed the scene on the day the Itaewon accident happened”. Kim C said, “I’m feeling lethargic these days because I couldn’t do anything to help them although I was right nearby”.
When asked about the time the crush accident occurred, Kim C replied, “That day, I went to a place nearby because I had a schedule from 2 a.m. Of course, I know the situation there well, so I just took all of my equipment along to walk there on foot, not by any transportation. The alley where the accident happened was on the left of the Hamilton Hotel. I had a schedule in the building next to the alley on the right of the hotel so I had already been there since 11:30 p.m”.
He explained, “It normally takes me about 20 minutes to walk to that place from home because I have my equipment with me but I arrived there after 30 minutes that day. No one was moving from the Itaewon Fire Station intersection, so it took me quite a long time to pass through them”.
When Joo Jin-woo asked about the time he witnessed the accident scene, Kim C said, “‘It’s a big event, so some big and small accidents might happen, right?’ With that thought in mind, I kept walking. But seeing so many fire trucks already arrived on the Itaewon four-lane road in front of me, I realized it was not a light accident. It was around 11:40.”
Regarding how the situation was controlled at that time, Kim C said, “It was hard to find the police”, adding “Seems like only a few of them were there. Most of the people who appeared at the scene were emergency personnel and firefighters, and I couldn’t see any police. Even I wondered myself, ‘Why are there no police?’”.
Kim C also explained that the crowded atmosphere at the Halloween party in Itaewon was the same every year. “I knew it would be so crowded, so it was just a normal atmosphere to me”, he said.
As Joo Jin-woo asked, “The atmosphere was the same, but a big accident happened this year. So what was the difference?”, Kim C said, “I don’t remember whether it was in 2016 or 2017, but at that time, there was a yellow police line along the sidewalks. My friends once told me that’s the reason why the festival was boring. But this time, I didn’t see any police line.”
Kim C continued, “Aren’t large and small events benefit the economy of Yongsan-gu? A lot of people came there for such events”, adding “If the person elected by the residents of Yongsan-gu was given such authority, I think they should also be responsible for the authority they have. I think this kind of accident happened because they did not consider preparation for accidents like this necessary”.
In addition, Kim C said, “After seeing the situation down there, I kept going up and down the rooftop”, adding “As far as I remember, it was after 12 p.m, and about 20 police officers walked in two rows from Noksapyeong to the other side of the road at Hamilton Hotel. I easily recognized them because of the fluorescent color of their clothes”.
He continued, “When I saw them walking in two lines, I just wondered, ‘Aren’t they aware of the situation right now?’”, adding “If they had been accurately informed of this situation, they would have run, but they were just walking in two lines. So for a moment, I asked myself, ‘Weren’t the reports delivered to them accurately?’”