In a heart-wrenching and appalling incident at an El Salvador soccer stadium, a cataclysmic stampede claimed the lives of at least 12 individuals, as confirmed by the government of this Central American nation.
Zealous fans forcefully breached a stadium access gate during a quarterfinal match in the Salvadoran league on Saturday, according to disturbing reports. The chaotic and deadly surge led to over a hundred people being hospitalized.
The Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador, the capital city, was the venue for the second leg of the playoff quarterfinal between Alianza FC and Club Deportivo FAS. However, the game came to an abrupt halt when pandemonium erupted in the general section, resulting in a devastating stampede.
Twelve people died and about 90 others were injured Saturday in a stampede at a soccer stadium in El Salvador, the authorities said, turning a highly anticipated match into a chaotic scene as fans rushed to save people suffocating under a mass of bodies. https://t.co/mcuqys6lTs
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 21, 2023
Multiple videos shared on Twitter and featured on local news media websites depict a chaotic scene at the stadium, where numerous individuals dressed in white can be seen rushing towards an exit. Disturbingly, the footage reveals some individuals lying on the ground, with others piling on top of them.
In El Salvador, a stampede at the entrance to the Cuscatlán football stadium killed 9 people. Hundreds were injured. The cause? The sale of fake tickets. Ripped off fans tried to force their way into the stands, according to the press service of the President of El Salvador. pic.twitter.com/jEt0r2WwM1
— Mike (@Doranimated) May 21, 2023
Heartbreaking and horrifying as it may sound, Approximately 100 individuals, some in critical condition, were promptly transported to medical facilities from Cuscatlán Stadium following the soccer stampede, as disclosed by the National Civil Police in conjunction with the Associated Press. Tragically, authorities confirmed that nine victims succumbed to their injuries at the stadium, while three others passed away in hospitals.
Safety breach turns fatal as lives lost in devastating soccer stadium stampede in El Salvador
The presidential press office reported that disgruntled fans, in an attempt to gain entry forcefully, triggered the incident by engaging in the sale of counterfeit tickets. However, conflicting rumors are suggesting that witnesses reported police firing tear gas outside the stadium, leading to the stampede.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele wrote on Twitter that both the National Civil Police and the Attorney General’s Office will initiate a comprehensive investigation into the incidents that unfolded at the stadium.
“Everyone will be investigated: teams, managers, stadium, box office, league, federation, etc. Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished.”
La @PNCSV y la @FGR_SV realizarán una investigación exhaustiva de los hechos ocurridos en el Estadio Cuscatlán.
Todos serán investigados: equipos, directivos, estadio, boletería, liga, federación, etc.
Sean quiénes sean los culpables, no quedarán en la impunidad.
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) May 21, 2023
The disturbance began roughly 20 minutes into the game. Commentators on a live stream of the match on YouTube reported witnessing commotion in the stands, with some individuals losing consciousness. Fans even stepped onto the field, resulting in the suspension of the game.
Health Minister Francisco Alabi took to Twitter and shared images that exposed the scene outside the stadium, depicting ambulances lined up while fans stood nearby. He wrote on Twitter, “Our hospital network emergency services are already providing medical care to all patients who have been transferred from the stadium. We will do what is humanly possible to safeguard your life.”
Nuestros servicios de emergencia de la red hospitalaria ya están brindando atención médica a todos los pacientes que han sido trasladados del estadio.
Haremos lo humanamente posible para salvaguardar su vida. pic.twitter.com/ISKnxLWoI8
— Francisco Alabi 🇸🇻 (@FranAlabi) May 21, 2023
This incident follows a tragic occurrence in October 2022 when a deadly stampede claimed the lives of 135 spectators at a stadium in East Java, Indonesia. In that event, as people attempted to escape, the police’s use of tear gas led to the crushing of numerous individuals in the rush toward the exits.