Paramount+’s ‘Crush,’ which was released on October 17, 2023, delves into the tragic events of a day when a massive crowd situation spiraled out of control, resulting in the loss of more than 150 lives. People from various parts of the world had gathered to partake in Halloween celebrations in Seoul’s Itaewon district, only for the mismanagement of the crowd to lead to a devastating catastrophe. Cholong Kim, a writer from South Korea, was among those who had gone to the vibrant district seeking enjoyment but found herself caught in an unimaginable ordeal. For those interested in learning more about her experiences and whereabouts, we have all the details for you. Let’s get into it, shall we?
What Happened to Cholong Kim?
Cholong Kim, a graduate of the University of Minnesota in 2021, was employed as a UX designer in Seoul, South Korea, in October 2022. She was also an aspiring writer, eager to explore the city and enjoy its offerings. With this in mind, she headed to the renowned and enticing Itaewon district on Halloween day of October 29, 2022. Upon arriving at the subway station, she noticed a massive crowd surging toward the district. Despite the unusual size of the gathering, Cholong initially thought it was the usual lively atmosphere of the place and proceeded with her plans.
Cholong observed that everyone around her was recording the crowd on their devices and as time passed, she felt the waves of the crowd’s pressure pushing against her back, forcing her in different directions. It became increasingly apparent that she had lost control over her movements. Desperate to reach an exit, Cholong attempted to maneuver her way through the throngs of people, but the incoming crowd from a different direction prevented her from doing so. She found herself trapped between the press of bodies, and the mounting pressure on her made it difficult to breathe. In this dire situation, she could only hope for help to arrive promptly.
Cholong couldn’t help but wonder why it took government agencies so long to arrive at the scene. Even when they did, it seemed to take an eternity to regain control of the situation. Amid the chaos, she witnessed people passing out and being suffocated to death, all while being unable to move a muscle herself. Gradually, she felt the immense pressure subsiding, and finally, she was pulled out of the crowd that had been taking away her breath. Fortunately, she did not sustain any major injuries, but by the time she returned home, her body was covered in bruises as a stark reminder of the ordeal she had endured.
Where is Cholong Kim Now?
Following the traumatic experience, Cholong sought therapy to cope with the emotional aftermath of the event. She grappled with intense survivor’s guilt and needed an extended period to come to terms with what had transpired. Cholong reached out to other survivors and forged a deep friendship with Juhyun Lee, who had also been present at Itaewon and had spent several months in the hospital recovering from her injuries. Witnessing Lee’s determination as she regained control of her legs and danced again deeply moved Cholong, filling her with pride. Motivated by the need to share her story and advocate for change, Cholong published an article detailing her own experiences. In it, she highlighted that the tragedy could have been easily prevented and criticized the government’s lack of support, shedding light on the urgency of addressing these issues and preventing such disasters in the future.
Cholong continues to reside in Seoul and has since built a unique career path for herself, working as a UX designer and also venturing into book design and editing. On January 10, 2023, the parliamentary special committee investigating the Itaewon disaster conducted its first public forum with experts on the issue. Cholong was among the few individuals who publicly testified, using her voice to convey her stance on the government’s negligence in the matter. Her willingness to stand in the face of adversity and advocate for change is truly inspiring, and her ability to thrive in life after such an experience is a testament to her strength and resilience.