SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — At least nine people were killed and dozens injured when soccer fans pushed open one of the access gates at a Salvadoran league quarterfinal match on Saturday.
The National Civil Police said in a preliminary report via Twitter that nine deaths were confirmed in the match between the Alianza and FAS clubs at the Monumental stadium in Cuscatlán, which is about 40 kilometers northeast of the capital.
At least two of the injured being transported to hospitals were in critical condition, police said.
Carlos Fuentes, a spokesman for the Rescue Commandos first aid group, also confirmed the deaths.
«We can confirm nine deaths, seven men and two women, and we care for more than 500 people, and more than 100 were taken to hospitals, some of them serious,» said Fuentes.
Play was suspended approximately 16 minutes into the match, when frantically waving fans in the stands began to call the attention of those on the field and carry the injured out of a tunnel and onto the field.
Local television broadcast live images of the aftermath of the crushing of Alianza fans. Dozens arrived at the camp where they received medical treatment. Fans who escaped the crush stood on the field waving their jerseys furiously trying to check on the people lying on the grass who were barely moving.
Pedro Hernández, president of El Salvador’s first division soccer team, said preliminary information he had was that the crush occurred because fans managed to push a gate into the stadium.
The commissioner of the National Civil Police, Mauricio Arriza Chicas, at the scene of the tragedy, said that a criminal investigation will be carried out in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic.
«We are going to investigate from ticket sales, tickets to the stadium, but especially the southern zone», where, he said, the door was opened.
The Salvadoran Football Federation said in a statement that it regretted what happened and expressed its support for the families of the victims.