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American Father Searches For Answers One Month After Son Dies in South Korean Stampede

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Source: mega

Nov. 30 2022, Updated 11:58 a.m. ET

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Nearly one month after the stampede at a Halloween festival in South Korea left nearly 150 dead, an infuriated Georgia father still doesn’t know how his son was crushed to death or who will be held accountable for the mayhem, a investigation has uncovered.

In an exclusive interview, Steve Blesi, 62, said he barely got any answers from American officials as his family tries – unsuccessfully — to recover from the brutal tragedy during the holidays.

“I mean nothing is going to bring my son back and that’s a pain we live with each and every day,” he said about his 20-year-old son Steven, an international business major at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University.

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Source: courtesy steve blesi

“We’re basically walking zombies right now. We just cry at a drop of the hat; my wife will cry, or I’ll cry,” he added. “We are trying to keep it together for our other son who is in college. We are trying to get some degree of normalcy back in our lives, but you know this is living hell.”

He recently sent an email to the American Embassy in Korea trying to find out anything about the tragedy and the investigation.

“I haven’t heard back from them,” Blesi said begrudgingly. "I don’t know if I’ll ever get any answers. We’re just left here shattered, to be honest with you.”

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The October 30 disaster unfolded in the Itaewon section of Seoul as about 100,000 young revelers mindlessly jammed into 14-foot-wide alleyways lined with bars and restaurants creating a deadly crush of human bodies.

Nearly 30 foreigners were killed in the stampede, including Anne Gieske, a 20-year-old University of Kentucky nursing student. More than 100 were injured.

Police officers assigned to the area were overwhelmed, and by the time they realized the impending disaster they were unable to control the throngs funneling into the party zone. One police officer in charge of the local station house committed suicide, and President Yoon Sek-yue issued an official apology to the victims’ families and survivors.

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Source: @annie_in_seoul/instagram
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Blesi told that he’s never received an official report from the South Korean government. All he knows is that his son was last seen by pals outside a hotel that looms over the alleyways, and he was eventually found in a pile of corpses “four to five bodies deep.”

“He was probably crushed,” Blesi said, fighting back tears. “It’s a horrible way to die. I mean basically it’s the equivalent of drowning just above water and you just cannot get any air. You have four to five people piled on top of you – I would trade places with my son 100 times over for him to have not gone through that. Obviously, I can’t do that.”

Repeated telephone calls and emails to the South Korean embassy in Washington, D.C. were ignored.


Blesi admitted that he refused to personally retrieve his son’s remains. Instead, he had him cremated and flown back where “we keep him with us at the house.” A celebration of life ceremony is planned for December 10th.

The frustrated father also admitted he would probably end up in a South Korean jail cell if he visited the country if a police official irritates or speaks to him inappropriately. “To me, I don’t think I can stand being on a plane that long thinking about my son and going to the place where he was killed.”

While he waits for the answers that may never come, Blesi said he’s desperately trying to celebrate the holiday season — but failing miserably. For Thanksgiving, the family went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, but it was closed, and they eventually returned home and found something to eat from the freezer.

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Source: mega

“I don’t plan to decorate for Christmas or do anything like that,” he said still trying to sort out the holiday inside his grieving mind. “We’ll probably put a tree in because he (Steven) always liked the tree, but I don’t know. Not much. It’s going to be a very solemn Christmas that’s for sure.

“People understand, they sympathize with you, but there is only a small percentage of people that know what it’s like to lose a child senselessly like this.”

Blesi tried to join a Facebook group of grieving parents who lost children – only to realize the gut-wrenching grief can last decades.

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Source: mega

“It hasn’t been easy I can tell you that because it always on your mind,” he said nearly breaking down. “It’s the first thing you think of when you wake up and it’s the last thing you think of when you go to bed – the fact that my boy is gone.

“You walk around with this profound sadness,” he added. “To be honest with you, I would’ve been happy to ‘check out’ and just leave (this world) -- see what’s on the other side. But I can’t do that. I got my wife, I got my other boy, I got to move forward for them.”



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