At least nine killed in El Salvador stadium stampede

May 21, 2023  -BBC News –At least nine people have died after a stampede at a football stadium in El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, officials have said.

Police said seven men and two women were among the dead, with all the victims over the age of 18.

The crush occurred during a match between local team Alianza and Santa Ana based team Fas at the Monumental stadium.

The match was subsequently suspended with around 10 minutes played.

The disaster reportedly occurred after a stampede began when a large number of fans tried to enter the venue after the gates had been closed.

The two sides had been facing off in a quarter-finals clash of the country’s premier division, and footage shared by local media appeared to show fans attempting to pull down barricades at the stadium’s entrance.

“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.”

Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s president, said police would conduct an “exhaustive investigation” into what happened.

“Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished,” he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Twitter account of Mr Bukele’s press secretary posted to say first responders were on the scene and two victims in critical condition had been transferred to the San Rafael hospital.

Images released showed people making their way onto the pitch where they received medical treatment, while local media had earlier transmitted live footage of the stampede.

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.

Mr Alabi also called for the public to cautiously evacuate the area to make it easier for medical teams to carry out care.

In a short statement, the Salvadoran Soccer Federation said it regretted what had happened and voiced support for the victims’ families.

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