9 killed in stampede at El Salvador football stadium

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May 21, 2023 | 2:42 am

At least nine people were killed and dozens injured after soccer fans pushed through an entrance gate at a Salvadoran league quarterfinal on Saturday.

In a preliminary report via Twitter, the national civil police said nine people died in the match between the Alianza and FAS clubs at the Monument Stadium in Cuscatlan, 25 miles northeast of the capital.

Police said the condition of at least two of the injured who were admitted to the hospital was critical.

Carlos Fuentes, spokesman for the Rescue Commandos first aid team, also confirmed the death.

“We can confirm that nine people died – seven men and two women – we visited more than 500 people, and more than 100 people were taken to hospitals, some of them seriously,” Fuentes said.


An injured fan is carried to the Cascatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 20, 2023.
AP

Soccer players attend to a fan lying on the field at the Cascatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 20, 2023.
AP

The game was halted for about 16 minutes as fans in the stands waved frantically to attract the attention of those on the field and began to bring the injured out of the tunnel and onto the pitch.

Local television broadcast live footage after being mobbed by Alianza fans. Dozens landed on the field receiving medical treatment.

The fans who survived the crush stood on the field frantically waving their shirts and trying to criticize those lying on the grass unable to move.


Other fans help soccer fans at Cascatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 20, 2023.
AP

Fans can be seen rushing to the Cascatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 20, 2023.
AP

Pedro Hern├índez, head of El Salvador’s first division, said the initial information he received was that fans had been pushed through a gate into the stadium, causing a stampede.

“It was an avalanche of fans past the gate. Some were still under the metal in the tunnel. Others made it to the stands and then onto the field and suffocated,” an unidentified volunteer from the Rescue Commandos first aid team told reporters.

National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Ariza Chicas said a criminal investigation will be conducted at the scene of the tragedy in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office.

“We are going to investigate from ticket sales, entry into the stadium, but especially from the south zone,” he said, where the gate was opened.

In a statement, the Salvadoran Football Federation said it regretted the incident and expressed its support for the families of the victims.


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