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Niece of US lawmaker among Itaewon victims

A mourning panel that reads
A mourning panel that reads "Pray for Itaewon" is seen on Tuesday at the Itaewon Subway Station, near the alley where the Itaewon tragedy took place Saturday. (Yonhap)

One of the 26 foreign victims of Saturday night’s Itaewon tragedy has been identified as the niece of a US politician -- Rep. Brad Wenstrup.

Twenty-year-old Anne Marie Geiske is one of the two American victims of the deadly disaster, according to the office for the representative of Ohio’s 2nd congressional district on Monday.

“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. We loved her so much,” Wenstrup said in a statement posted on his webpage.

Geiske studied nursing at University of Kentucky and was in South Korea for a semester on a study abroad program, according to the university’s president, Eli Capilouto,

The other American victim was Steven Blesi, a 20-year-old college student who also came to South Korea for a semester abroad.

The US State Department on Monday confirmed the death of two Americans and that there were three others injured in the Seoul disaster.

The death toll from the crowd crush during Halloween celebrations in Seoul’s popular party district of Itaewon stood at 156, as of early Tuesday afternoon. About 3 in 4 victims were in their teens and 20s. The total also includes 26 foreign nationals.

Another 151 are injured, including 29 serious cases.



By Lim Jae-seong (forestjs@heraldcorp.com)
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