Fort Mitchell woman among those killed in South Korea’s Halloween celebration crowd surge

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — A graduate from Beechwood High School has died following the deadly Halloween celebration stampede in South Korea.

Anne Gieske, a nursing student in her third year at the University of Kentucky, was killed following Saturday evening’s incident in Seoul. Gieske was studying abroad in South Korea with an education abroad program, UK’s President Eli Cailouto said.

ABC News reports that at least 153 people have died and 82 are injured as a result of the stampede — but the death toll continues to rise. More than 100,000 people descended upon the Itaewon leisure district, which is known for its nightclubs, for Halloween festivities. According to witnesses, a large crowd pushed forward in the area’s narrow alleys causing people to be crushed and go into cardiac arrest in the stampede.

The National Fire Agency said most of the victims are in their 20s.

Gieske’s father, Dan, released a statement following her death:

Beechwood High School Principal Justin Kaiser reached out to the high school’s community and parents via email to inform them of Gieske’s death.

“I am informing you, as parents/guardians, that some of your children may be affected by this devastating news,” Kaiser said.

Gieske was a member of Beechwood’s marching band from 2015 to 2020. She also volunteered with the school’s Marching Tigers ensemble during summer 2022, Kaiser said. While volunteering, Gieske worked closely with the school’s drum majors and clarinet players.

Both UK and Beechwood offered grief and counseling services to their communities and students in the wake of Gieske’s loss and all others in Seoul.

“We will be there for those in our community who knew and loved Anne,” Cailouto said. “We also have nearly 80 students from South Korea at UK — members of our community — who will need our support.”

Cailouto said UK had two other students and a faculty member in South Korea as well, and all three have been contacted and are safe.

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