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El Salvador Football Match Turns Deadly, 12 Killed in Stadium Stampede

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El Salvador Football Match Turns Deadly

Fans enraged after being denied entry to a football match in El Salvador smashed the stadium entrance gates, causing a crush that killed at least 12 people and injured scores more, officials and witnesses said Sunday.

The stampede occurred late Saturday during a quarterfinals encounter between clubs Alianza and Fas at Monumental Stadium in Cuscatlan, which is located in southern San Salvador, the country’s capital.

“The game was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., but they closed the gate at 7 p.m. and left us outside (the stadium) with our tickets in our hands,” claimed Alianza fan José ngel Penado. “People became enraged. We asked them to let us in, but they refused. So they smashed the gate.”

El Salvador Football Match Turns Deadly, 12 Killed at Stadium

According to Civil Protection Director Luis Amaya, approximately 500 patients were attended to and approximately 100 were sent to hospitals. At least two of those who were sent to hospitals were in critical condition.

“El Salvador is in mourning,” stated a statement from Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s press office, which confirmed that at least 12 people had perished.

In an address to the World Health Organisation in Geneva on Sunday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, “I simply would like to express, of course, my condolences to all the people of El Salvador for this tragic incident.”

About 16 minutes into the game, spectators gesturing frantically in the stands began attracting the attention of those on the field and dragging the injured out of a tunnel and down to the pitch.

El Salvador Football Match Turns Deadly, 12 Killed at Stadium

Local television broadcast live footage of the stampede, which appeared to be mostly Alianza fans. Dozens of people made it onto the pitch and were treated. Fans who had escaped the crush waved their shirts fiercely on the pitch, attempting to review people laying on the turf scarcely moving.

“It was a terrifying night.” “I never thought something like this would happen to me,” Alianza supporter Tomas Renderos said as he walked out of a hospital where he had been treated. “Fortunately, I only have a few bruises… but not everyone had my luck.”

According to Pedro Hernández, head of El Salvador’s first division, the stampede happened because fans pushed their way through a gate into the stadium.

“The gate was overrun by an avalanche of fans.” Some were still hidden beneath the metal in the tunnel. Others were suffocated after making it to the stands and subsequently to the pitch’, an anonymous volunteer with the Rescue Commandos first aid group informed journalists.

El Salvador Football Match Turns Deadly, 12 Killed at Stadium

At the scene of the tragedy, National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas stated that a criminal inquiry will be launched in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office.

“We are going to investigate from the ticket sales, the entries into the stadium, but especially the southern zone,” he stated, referring to the area where the gate was pulled open.

The Salvadoran Football Federation issued a statement expressing sympathy and support for the victims’ families.

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