At least nine dead and dozens injured in stampede at soccer game in El Salvador


At least nine people were killed and dozens more injured when football fans rushed through one of the gates at a quarter-final match of the Salvadoran League on Saturday.

This was announced by the National Civil Police in a preliminary report via twitter Nine deaths have been confirmed at the game between clubs Alianza and FAS at the Monumental Stadium in Cuscatlan, some 25 miles north-east of the capital.

At least two of the injured who were transported to hospitals were in critical condition, police said.

Carlos Fuentes, spokesman for the first aid group Rescue Commandos, also confirmed the deaths.

“We can confirm nine deaths – seven men and two women – and we have cared for more than 500 people and more than 100 have been transported to hospitals, some of them severe,” Fuentes said.

Stampede at soccer match in El Salvador
Supporters are helped by others after a stampede during a soccer match between Alianza and FAS at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador May 20, 2023.

MILTON FLORES/AFP via Getty Images

The game was halted about 16 minutes into the game when fans in the stands waved frantically and began to draw the crowd’s attention and carry the injured out of a tunnel onto the pitch.

Local television broadcast live footage of the aftermath of the Alianza fan rush. Dozens made it onto the field where they received medical treatment. Fans who escaped the scrum stood on the field angrily waving T-shirts and trying to watch the people lying on the grass, barely moving.

Pedro Hernández, president of El Salvador’s Premier Football League, said the preliminary information he has is that the rush happened because fans managed to enter the stadium through a gate.

“It was an avalanche of fans overrunning the goal. Some were still under the metal in the tunnel. Others made it to the stands and then onto the pitch and were suffocated,” an unidentified volunteer with first-aid group Rescue Commandos told journalists.

National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas said at the scene of the tragedy that a criminal investigation was being launched in cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office.

“We will examine ticket sales, access to the stadium, but especially the southern area,” he said, where the gate was pushed open.

The Salvadoran Football Federation issued a statement saying it regretted the incident and expressed its support for the families of the victims.

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