Two American college students were identified Sunday as being among the 153 people killed in a stampede during Halloween festivities in Seoul, South Korea. Kennesaw State University student and Georgia native Steven Blesi, 20, was spending the semester studying abroad in the South Korean capital, and Anne Gieske, 20, a student in her third year at the University of Kentucky, died in the crowd surge Saturday night.

President Biden tweeted that he and first lady Jill Biden are “devastated to learn that at least two Americans are among so many who lost their lives in Seoul. Our hearts go out to their loved ones in this time of grief, and we continue to pray for the recovery of all who were injured.”

Bless and Gieske’s schools both issued statements confirming the deaths on Sunday. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said in a letter to the community that Gieske was a nursing student in her junior year from Northern Kentucky, who had been studying abroad in South Korea for the semester.

The crowd surge is one of South Korea’s worst disaster in years. As of Sunday evening, officials put the death toll at 153 and the number of injured people at 133, and the death count could further rise as 37 of the injured people were listed in serious conditions. More than 80% of those killed were in their 20s and 30s, and at least four were teenagers.

Editorial credit: Boumen Japet /

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