SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – At least nine people were killed and dozens more injured when soccer fans crashed through one of the entrance gates during a Salvadoran league quarterfinal match on Saturday.
The National Civil Police said in an initial report via Twitter that nine were confirmed dead during a match between Alianza and FAS clubs at the Monumental Stadium in Cuscatlán, about 25 miles (41 kilometers) northeast of the capital.
The police informed that at least two of the wounded who were taken to the hospital are in serious condition.
Carlos Fuentes, a spokesman for Rescue Commando First Aid, also confirmed the death.
“We can confirm nine deaths, seven men and two women, and we have treated more than 500 people and more than 100 have been taken to hospitals, some of them seriously,” Fuentes said.
The game was interrupted about 16 minutes into the game when fans in the stands began frantically grabbing the attention of those on the field and pulling the injured out of the tunnel and onto the pitch.
Local television broadcast live footage of the aftermath of the stampede by Alianza fans. Dozens of people went out to the field, where they received medical aid. Fans who escaped the crush stood on the pitch waving their shirts frantically as they tried to watch the people lying on the grass barely moving.
Pedro Hernandez, president of El Salvador’s first division, said initial reports were that the stampede occurred because fans were able to enter the stadium through a gate.
“It was an avalanche of fans that overcame the gate. Some were still tunneling under the metal. Others managed to reach the stands and then the field and suffocated,” an unidentified volunteer of the Rescue Commandos first aid team told reporters.
National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Ariza Chicas, at the scene of the tragedy, said there would be a criminal investigation in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office.
“We are going to investigate ticket sales, entrances to the stadium, but especially the southern zone,” where, he said, the gate was left open.
The Salvadoran Football Federation said in its statement that it regrets what happened and expresses support to the families of the victims.
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