Authorities investigate El Salvador stadium crush with at least 12 people dead
El Salvador’s National Civil Police have launched a criminal investigation after at least 12 people died in a football stadium crush in San Salvador.
Dozens more fans were injured during Saturday’s incident at the Primera Division play-off quarter-final second leg between Alianza and FAS at the Cuscatlan Stadium in the country’s capital.
The match was suspended and a statement from the press office of El Salvador president Nayib Bukele later confirmed that at least 12 people had died.
#AtenciónDeEmergencias | Presidente @nayibbukele ordena investigar los hechos ocurridos en el estadio Cuscatlán donde murieron 12 personas. Más detalles: https://t.co/zoQDpzJyMw#SecretaríaDePrensa pic.twitter.com/Nmm1Lo9WGp
— Secretaría de Prensa de la Presidencia (@SecPrensaSV) May 21, 2023
President Bukele promised that an “exhaustive investigation” would be conducted into what happened at the stadium.
He added on Twitter: “Everyone will be investigated: teams, directors, stadium, ticket office, league, federation, etc…
“Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished.”
National Civil Police general commissioner Mauricio Arriaza Chicas said the police would work alongside the Republic’s attorney general’s office to hold those responsible for the disaster to account.
Arriaza Chicas said on Twitter: “We regret this incident in which there are deaths. As a police institution we announce that together with the @FGR_SV we are going to get down to the last details of a criminal investigation into tonight’s incident.”
Attorney general Rodolfo Delgado tweeted: “What has happened this day at the Cuscatlan Stadium is a tragedy for everyone. My condolences to the Salvadoran fans. @FGR_SV and @PNCSV they are executing the necessary procedures to deduce responsibilities.”
Estamos agilizando la entrada y salida de ambulancias al Estadio Cuscatlán.
Pedimos a la población apartarse y permitir el paso de las ambulancias. pic.twitter.com/gbmimFZuD5
— PNC El Salvador (@PNCSV) May 21, 2023
Video footage of the match on YouTube shows the game being suspended after panic in one of the stands and the injured are later seen being carried away by emergency services on stretchers.
Francisco Alabi, the minister of health, said on Twitter in the hours after the incident: “At the moment, as an integrated health system, we are caring for around 90 people after what happened at the stadium.
“The patients are both women and men, including minors, and who mostly have been treated for multiple injuries.
“The majority of them are in a stable condition and at the moment we have had no reports of deaths from hospitals.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino sent his condolences to the victims of the tragedy and the world governing body confirmed there would be a minute’s silence before Sunday’s matches at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Argentina.
Infantino said in a statement on www.fifa.com: “I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives after the tragic incidents that have taken place in El Salvador during the match between Alianza FC and Club Deportivo FAS.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected, as well as with the people of the Republic of El Salvador, the Concacaf Confederation, the Salvadoran Football Association, and the Primera Divison de Futbol de El Salvador, at this difficult time.”
The Salvadoran Soccer Federation said that all national level football matches on Sunday would be suspended.