SAN SALVADOR: At least 12 people are reported to have died in a crowd crush in the capital of the central American republic of San Salvador. More than 500 needed treatment for injuries and shock.
The incident occurred during a match between local team Alianza and the Santa Ana-based team Fas at Cuscatlán Stadium. At least two women were among the dead. The match was subsequently suspended.
President Nayib Bukele described the event as “unprecedented”, and promised an “exhaustive investigation.” He added: “Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished.”
The disaster reportedly occurred after a large number of fans tried to enter the venue after the gates had been closed. Officials believe some fans had been sold fake tickets.
Local media footage showed fans attempting to pull down barricades at the stadium’s entrance. Late clips showed victims being carried away by emergency services on stretchers.
A rescue service volunteer said: “It was an avalanche of fans who overran the gate. Some were still trapped in the tunnel. Others managed to make it to the stands and then to the field and were smothered.”
Officials also said that 90 people were being given medical attention, and that men, women and children had been treated for “multiple traumas”.
Luis Alonso Amaya, from the Civil Protection of El Salvador, said that about 500 people had been given medical treatment, with many transferred to hospital.
Health minister Francisco Alabi said that most of those injured are in a stable condition and that there have been no reports of deaths from hospitals.
The Salvadoran Soccer Federation said that all national level football matches on Sunday would be suspended. It also said it regretted what had happened and voiced support for the victims’ families.