LOCAL NEWS

Members of Nephi family caught up in deadly crowd surge in South Korea

Oct 30, 2022, 4:36 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2022, 10:18 am

NEPHI, Utah — A family from Nephi is holding onto each other more closely after their children witnessed a disaster overseas.

Rein Warner, 24, and Regan Warner, 26, were among the thousands of people gathered for a Halloween celebration in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday. A crowd surge at the event left more than 150 people dead.

World leaders grieve deadly Halloween crowd surge in Seoul

Regan is a teacher in South Korea. She traded the quiet roads of her hometown for the narrow, high-traffic streets of Daegu, which is a few hours away from Seoul.

“She fell in love with the culture,” said Jalena Warner, Rein and Regan’s mother. “She loves K-pop.”

Regan’s brother, Rein, was in town to visit his sister. They went out in costume to celebrate Halloween with thousands of other people, many of them their age.

“It’s a street celebration,” Warner said. “They went on Friday night. She had been the last three years. There’s restaurants, dance clubs, music.”

The Halloween event turned into a real-life horror when the crowd swelled and people were crushed.

Thousands of miles away, Warner said she wasn’t aware of what was happening until her mother called.

“I could hear the panic in her voice, and she said, ‘You need to call your kids. It’s all over the news,'” Warner said.

She called her son and daughter and anxiously waited for them to pick up.

“Finally, Regan answered her phone, and before I could say anything, she said, ‘We’re all OK,'” Warner said.

What they witnessed haunts them.

“She said, ‘You could not move,’ and she felt like if they had been any further in, they would’ve been separated,” Warner said.

Packed in shoulder to shoulder, Rein and Regan were able to find their way out of the crowd.

“Just seeing the people doing CPR on others, and injured and even the dead lying, I think it’s something they won’t soon forget,” Warner said.

Her children made it back to their Airbnb and then headed back to Daegu.

Warner said they’re thinking of the families who will never hear back from their loved ones.

“They were all just kids there to enjoy Halloween and celebrate,” she said.

Warner said her children are safe and together. Her son, Rein, comes home in a week. She said that will be a sweet reunion, but they’re thinking of the many families who won’t be reunited with their own children after this deadly event.

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Members of Nephi family caught up in deadly crowd surge in South Korea