May 22 – At least 12 people have died after a crush at a football stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, local authorities have said.
It is the second deadly crush at a football match globally in six months, after a similar tragedy in Indonesia in October. The Alianza vs Fas matche at the Cuscatlán Stadium was overshadowed by the stampede following the opening of a gate to allow more supporters into the stadium after the game had kicked off.
The resulting crush saw fans spill on to the pitch, and players carrying wounded fans away from the danger. The match was suspended after 15 minutes.
El Salvador’s health minister, Francisco Alabi, tweeted that the government had deployed ambulances from nearby hospitals to the stadium with the injured being sent to different public institutions for treatment. Around 100 supporters were injured.
Civil Defense Agency Director Luis Alonso Amaya said he believed too many tickets for the match had been sold. Authorities have promised to launch an investigation as President Nayib Bukele described the event as “unprecedented”.
“There were only two gates open in the whole stadium,” one fan told the La Prensa Grafica newspaper. “The people outside wanted to force their way in, they all fell on us.”
Other reports suggest that gates at the venue were closed and that some fans still tried to enter the venue.
“It was an avalanche of fans who overran the gate,” a volunteer with the Rescue Commandos first aid group told journalists. “Some were still under the metal in the tunnel. Others managed to make it to the stands and then to the field and were smothered.”
“The Salvadoran Football Federation deeply regrets the events that occurred at the Cuscatlan Stadium,” the organisation wrote on Twitter. “It also expresses solidarity with the relatives of those affected and deceased in this incident.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino offered his “condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives after the tragic incidents that have taken place in El Salvador.”
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