2 American students, both 20, killed in Itaewon tragedy
The two Americans who died in Itaewon on Oct. 29 in the Halloween celebration crowd crush were exchange students.
They were both 20 and were both attending Hanyang University.
Anne Gieske of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky was a nursing student at the University of Kentucky.
“The University of Kentucky community is grieving the tragic loss of one of our students, Anne Gieske, who was studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea, and was killed in this weekend’s tragedy,” the university wrote on its social media.
Gieske celebrated her 20th birthday in Seoul the day before the tragedy, Fox News reported. On Instagram she posted a photo of herself smiling with a birthday cake, with a caption reading “20th birthday celebration by the Han River.”
“We are completely devastated and heartbroken over the loss of Anne. She was a bright light loved by all,” Gieske’s father said in a statement, which was reported by NBC News.
Anne’s high school, Beechwood Independent Schools, mourned the death of its alumna.
“Anne was our student, friend, mentor, drum major in the band and a beloved member of our Fort Mitchell community,” the school wrote in a statement.
The University of Kentucky said its two other two students in Korea are safe as is a faculty member.
Steven Blesi was the other American killed in the Halloween crowd surge, which claimed 154 lives in total. He came to Korea just two months earlier, according to U.S. media outlets.
“He was an extrovert, he was full of adventure,” his father said in an interview with the Washington Post.
The paper reported that he was from Marietta, Georgia and a junior at Kennesaw State University, which is located in Georgia.
Blesi’s father said his son had messaged him saying he had finished midterms and was going out with friends over the weekend.
“Living with this the rest of our lives is going to be very difficult,” the father was quoted as saying.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that at least 26 foreigners died in the tragedy.
In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul reported that two U.S. citizens died in the tragedy and three were injured.
BY CHO JUNG-WOO [email@example.com]