Several people died in a stampede at an El Salvador football stadium on Saturday night, officials said.
The incident took place at the Monumental Stadium at Cuscatlan in the capital San Salvador, local media said. Initially, the death toll was reported to be nine but later local media revised the toll to 12.
“The number of deaths after the stampede at the Cuscatlan Stadium amounts to nine,” the National Civil Police [PNC] posted earlier on Twitter.
More than 100 were also injured in the stampede and they were taken to hospitals and medical centres across the city.
Salvadoran health minister Francisco Alabi said on Twitter that emergency teams had been deployed and the injured were being transferred to local hospitals.
The stampede occured after fans tried to enter the Cuscatlan stadium in the capital San Salvador to watch a match between football teams Alianza FC and FAS on Saturday night.
Alianza FC and FAS are two of the most popular football teams in the Central American country. The stadium was hosting a quarter-final match between the two popular El Salvador’s premier division teams.
Mundo en Conflicto tweeted that the fans outside the Cuscatlan stadium, in El Salvador, are “hindering the work of the ambulances by covering the exits and delaying the transfer of the injured”.
The Salvadoran Football Federation said the institution “deeply regrets the events that occurred at the Cuscatlan Stadium”.
“It also stands in solidarity with the families of those affected and killed in this incident.” The federation also said that “it will immediately request a report of what happened”.
The director of the National Civil Police [PNC], Mauricio Arriaza, announced on Saturday night, that together with the Attorney General’s Office [FGR] they will launch a “criminal investigation” into the tragic events.
He said that “between 400 and 500 people gathered [at the stadium] and the “eagerness to see the game” led to the stampede.
President of the country Nayib Bukele tweeted: “The @PNCSV and @FGR_SV will carry out an exhaustive investigation of the events that occurred at the Cuscatlan Stadium. Everyone will be investigated: teams, managers, stadium, ticket office, league, federation, etc. Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished.”
“It was an avalanche of fans who overran the gate. 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,” an unidentified volunteer with the Rescue Commandos first aid group was quoted as saying by El Mundo.
The authorities announced that they are also looking into the oversale of tickets for the match between Alianza and FAS.