Stampeding fans killed at least 12 and injured dozens more at a football match on Saturday.
El Salvador’s National Civil Police said the incident took place during a league quarter-final between clubs Alianza and FAS at the Monumental stadium in Cuscatlan, roughly 25 miles northeast of the capital of San Salvador.
Fans are understood to have pushed through one of the stadium access gates.
Authorities confirmed the twelve deaths, adding two of those injured had been transported to hospitals in critical condition.
Carlos Fuentes, a spokesman for first aid group Rescue Commandos, said: ‘We can confirm nine dead – seven men and two women – and we attended to more than 500 people, and more than 100 were transported to hospitals, some of them were serious.’
The match was only about 16 minutes in before play was suspended due to the stampede.
Players are thought to have stopped after seeing fans in the stands waving frantically, before beginning to carry the injured out of a tunnel and down to the pitch.
Local TV stations transmitted live images of the aftermath, with dozens making it onto the field to receive medical treatment.
The footage shows fans waving shirts over the injured in a desperate attempt to revive them.
An unidentified volunteer with Rescue Commandos further told local reporters: ‘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.’
National Civil Police commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas, speaking from the scene of the stampede, assured the public his agency and the Attorney General’s Office would be conducting a criminal investigation into the tragedy.
He said they would ‘investigate from the ticket sales, the entries into the stadium, but especially the southern zone,’ referring to the location where the stampede started.
The Salvadoran Soccer Federation has further issued a statement expressing regret over the incident and support for victims’ families.
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