A period of national mourning has been declared in South Korea following the deadly crush ©Getty Images

Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) Executive Board member Yoon Jay-yon has expressed her heartbreak over the crowd crush in Seoul that killed more than 150 people.

Speaking to insidethegames during the Olympic Council of Asia Gender Equity Seminar here, Yoon struggled to hold back the tears as she spoke about the tragedy that unfolded in the South Korean capital on Saturday night (October 29).

A total of 154 people were killed and more than 130 sustained injuries following the crush in the popular nightlife district of Itaewon.

Tens of thousands of partygoers had flocked to the area to celebrate Halloween festivities only for the night to turn into a disaster as a crush in the overcrowded streets led to a stampede with people trapped in a narrow alleyway.

Most of the victims were in their 20s and include 26 foreigners as the name of the deceased continued to be confirmed.

The tragedy came a little more than a week after Seoul staged the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly - the first major international event to be held in the city since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An emotional Yoon said she felt the situation was avoidable and called on the South Korean Government to learn lessons from the disaster.

"It’s really heartbreaking and unbelievable that it happened when safety is the priority," Yoon told insidethegames.

"Our Government focuses on safety first but somehow they didn’t do their best which is disappointing as a citizen.

"There are things that we could have done earlier as it takes three or four hours to avoid this situation.

"We could have foreseen what could happen in this area and that’s very disappointing.

 South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol holds a flower at a memorial altar for the victims of the Halloween celebration stampede ©Getty Images
 South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol holds a flower at a memorial altar for the victims of the Halloween celebration stampede ©Getty Images

"We are all suffering, it’s everyone's pain.

"It’s very upsetting.

"We must learn lessons from this."

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has also expressed his sadness at the tragic events in Seoul.

"Our thoughts are with the familiars and friends of the victims of this terrible catastrophe and with the Korean people," said Bach.

An investigation is currently underway to determine the exact cause of the incident.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has declared a period of national morning and designated Itaewon district a disaster zone.

"Above all, it is important to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and transparently disclose its results,” said Yoon.

"It is necessary to come up with a safety management system for preventing crowd accidents that can be applied to voluntary group events without an organiser like this one."