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Aussie woman crushed in Halloween stampede identified as aspiring filmmaker

Tributes are flowing for a young Sydney woman who was crushed to death during the mass Halloween stampede in Seoul.

Identified as Grace Rached, 23, the woman was celebrating her 24th birthday 12 days early in the Itaewon district, when the tragic incident occurred, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The Australian production assistant was one of at least 153 people killed during the stampede on Saturday night, when a Halloween party took a turn for the worst.

Two photos of Sydney woman, Grace Rached, who was killed in the stampede in Seoul.
Sydney woman, Grace Rached, was "crushed" to death in the Seoul Halloween stampede on Saturday that has taken the lives of at least 153 people. Source: Instagram/TikTok (Instagram / grace_rached and TikTok/ taeveniti)

Her friend, Nate Taeveniti, who was also involved in the incident, described the moment she was "crushed" in the crowd.

“I was there when she said she couldn’t breathe and I grabbed one of my friend’s hands,” the tearful Sydney man told TikTok viewers.

“Two of them are in critical conditions and one of them (confirmed as Ms Rached) has unfortunately passed away.”

In his TikTok videos, he and his friends, including Ms Rached, are seen dressed up in costumes, and preparing for a fun night.

However Mr Taeveniti later posted about the tragedy in a video which has been viewed more than 8.5 million times.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Taverniti was looking for his friend's body the following day, who he had seen taken on a stretcher during the night.

“Her family’s in Australia, so I’m the guardian,” he said to the publication.

People react to Grace Rached's death

She was described by a close friend as "an incredible person" and "such a light in many people's lives".

Her former boss, Electriclime Films executive producer Shahn Devendran, also spoke generously about her.

“Grace was a fun, friendly, kind-hearted and passionate individual who loved to make films and make people laugh," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"She will be deeply missed by her many family and friends, as well as her family here at Electriclime Films.”

Others also took to her Instagram and TikTok profiles, to offer their condolences.

"I’m so sorry," one person said.

The young woman had just recently posted pictures of her holidaying in Indonesia, saying "Bali, you were a blast".

She also in August posted a video as part of a trend, highlighting the lessons she learned in her "almost 24 years", which has now been revisited by people after her passing.

"When you go, nothing goes with you. So you may as well enjoy your time here," she wrote in the TikTok.

"You deserved better," one person commented.

Aspiring filmmaker wanted to showcase Arab-Australian stories

According to Electriclime films' website, Ms Rached had always been passionate about film and "highly motivated to tell incredible stories".

"As soon as I left school, I involved myself in as many productions as I could, no matter how small," she said on the website, having now flown overseas for work projects.

"I’ve always been fiercely passionate about seeing women succeed in this industry.

"I want to be able to further that in my career and showcase positive Arab stories within Australia. Finding representation on and off the screen is so incredibly important to me and I’ll continue striving to be able to put them on people’s screens."

'Nobody was willing to help'

Despite reports of a stampede that occurred when a huge crowd swelled in an alley, Mr Taeveniti described it as "a slow and agonising crush".

“This crush was not caused by drunk people,” he explained on TikTok.

“It is a lack of planning police force, emergency services and nobody was willing to help.”

“I watched as people filmed and sang and laughed while my friends were dying along with many other people.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed they are aware of the Australian's death and are assisting the family, The Guardian reports.

“The Australian government sends its condolences to the family and others affected by this tragic incident,” a spokesman said.

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