Soccer supporters in a stampede forced through one of the entrance gates at a quarterfinal game in the Salvadoran league on Saturday, resulting in at least nine deaths and numerous injuries.
Nine fatalities were reported at the match between the clubs Alianza and FAS at the Monumental stadium in Cuscatlan, which is roughly 25 miles northeast of the capital, according to a preliminary report from the National Civil Police posted on Twitter.
According to authorities, at least two of the injured patients who were taken to hospitals were in critical condition.
The deaths were also verified by Rescue Commandos spokesman Carlos Fuentes.
“We can confirm nine dead — seven men and two women — and we attended to more than 500 people, and more than 100 were transported to hospitals, some of them serious,” Fuentes added.
Deadly Stampede at EI Salvador Soccer Match
About 16 minutes into the game, people in the seats started waving wildly to gain the players’ attention and started bringing the injured out of a tunnel and onto the field. At that point, the play was stopped.
Live footage of the aftermath of the Alianza fan stampede was broadcast on local television. Numerous people managed to reach the field, where they received medical attention. Fans who managed to flee the crowd frantically waved shirts on the field in an effort to see people laying on the ground scarcely moving.
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The stampede happened because spectators were able to force their way through a barrier and into the stadium, according to Pedro Hernández, president of El Salvador’s top soccer division.
“The fans overran the gate like an avalanche. In the tunnel, several were still hidden behind the metal. Others were smothered after making it to the stands and then the field, according to an unnamed volunteer with the Rescue Commandos first aid team.
At the scene of the tragedy, National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas announced that a criminal investigation will be conducted in cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office.
“We are going to investigate from the ticket sales, the entries into the stadium, but especially the southern zone,” he added, adding that this is where he believes the gate was forced open.
In a statement, the Salvadoran Soccer Federation expressed sympathy for what had transpired and support for the families of the victims.
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