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At least 9 killed in a stampede on a soccer field in El Salvador


May 21, 2023 | 2:42 a.m

At least nine people were killed and scores injured when soccer fans stormed one of the entrance gates to a quarter-final match in the Salvadorean league on Saturday.

Nine people were confirmed dead in the match between Alianza and Fez clubs at Estadio Monumental in Cuscatlan, about 25 miles northeast of the capital, the National Civil Police said in a preliminary report via Twitter.

Police said at least two of the injured, who were taken to hospitals, were in critical condition.

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

Fuentes said, “We can confirm that nine were killed – seven men and two women – and we have more than 500 people present, and more than 100 have been taken to hospitals, some of whom were in serious condition.”

An injured fan is taken to Cuscatlan Stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, on May 20, 2023.

Soccer players attend to a fan lying at Cuscatlan Stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, on May 20, 2023.

Play was suspended after about 16 minutes of the match when the fans in the stands started waving frantically to get the attention of those on the field and carrying injured people from a tunnel onto the pitch.

Local television broadcast live pictures of the effects of the Alianza fans stampede. Dozens arrived at the square, where they received medical treatment.

Fans who survived the hurricane stood in the stadium furiously waving their shirts, trying to check out the people lying on the lawn, barely moving.

Soccer fans are helped by other fans at Cuscatlan Stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, on May 20, 2023.

Fans are seen rushing into Cuscatlan Stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, on May 20, 2023.

Pedro Hernandez, president of the First Division of El Salvador’s football, said the initial information he had was that the stampede occurred because fans managed to break through the gate of the stadium.

“It was a torrent of fans that swarmed the gate. Some were still under the metal in the tunnel. Others managed to get to the stands and then onto the field and were choked.”

National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Arreaza Chicas, at the scene of the tragedy, said that there would be a criminal investigation jointly with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“We will check ticket sales, entrances to the stadium, especially the south area,” he said, as the gate was opened.

The Salvadoran Football Federation said in a statement that it regretted what had happened and expressed its support for the families of the victims.

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