The Seoul English teacher, who passed by Itaewon Saturday night, told CNN what she saw.
Emily Farmer, 27, said: “There were rows and rows of people in the street covering them with tarps.”
Farmer, who was with two friends, said she did not see any crowd control measures in place in the area.
The tragedy has left at least 151 dead and dozens injured. Nineteen foreign nationals from Iran, Norway, China and Uzbekistan were also killed.
Farmer and her friends were “overwhelmed” by the crowd in the street and decided to enter a bar.
Soon after, rumors began to spread that someone had died and customers were not allowed to leave. Farmer said she had received urgent messages from the government alerting them to “dangerous conditions in the area”.
She was allowed to leave the bar around midnight and learned of the tragedy that was happening outside.
“It was horrible,” she said. “Not everyone died instantly.”
“They’re still pulling people (out) because it’s so crowded,” she added.
A group of people were crying, she added. Many of the victims were undergoing CPR and their clothing was removed so that paramedics at the scene could resuscitate them.
She still hasn’t heard back from the two acquaintances she texted last night. “I’m still in shock. It’s obviously very distressing,” she added.