Ohio Congressman’s Niece Killed in Korea Crowd Stampede

Ohio Congressman’s Niece Killed in Korea Crowd Stampede

The niece of Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) was among the more than 150 people killed during a Halloween crowd surge in South Korea on Saturday.

 

The niece of Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) was among the more than 150 people killed during a Halloween crowd surge in South Korea on Saturday, Fox News reported.

“Monica and I, and our entire family, are grieving the loss of our niece Anne Marie Gieske. She was a gift from God to our family,” the congressman said in a statement. “We loved her so much.”

 

Gieske, a nursing student enrolled at the University of Kentucky, was studying abroad for a semester in South Korea.

“We are completely devastated and heartbroken over the loss of Anne Marie. She was a bright light loved by all,” Gieske’s parents, Dan and Madonna Gieske, said in a statement.

Eli Capilouto, the president of the University of Kentucky, added that “there aren’t adequate or appropriate words to describe the pain of a beautiful life cut short.”

“It isn’t fair, nor is it comprehensible. It is loss and it hurts in ways that are impossible to articulate,” he continued.

The massive crowd surge during a Halloween celebration in the popular nightlife district of Itaewon, Seoul, took the lives of at least 156 people, including 26 foreign nationals. It was the worst disaster the country has seen since 2014, when a ferry sank in waters off the south coast and killed 304 people.

The other American who was killed in Itaewon has been identified as Steven Blesi, a twenty-year-old student at Georgia’s Kennesaw State who was also in the country to study abroad.

“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.

“The Alliance between our two countries has never been more vibrant or more vital—and the ties between our people are stronger than ever. The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time,” he added.

South Korean president Yoon Seok-yeol, who declared a weeklong national mourning period starting on Sunday, thanked Biden and other foreign leaders on Tuesday for their condolences, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“U.S. President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister [Fumio] Kishida, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other foreign leaders sent their deep condolences. On behalf of our people, I would like to deeply thank the foreign leaders and people for their warm consolation,” Yoon said during a Cabinet meeting.

“We will do our best to assist the foreign casualties in the same way as our own people,” he continued.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.