At least 12 people died and an unspecified number were injured in a stampede at a soccer stadium in El Salvador on Saturday, the Central American country’s government said.
Alianza FC and Club Deportivo FAS were playing the second leg of their playoff quarter-final game at the Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador, the country’s capital, when play was suspended after a stampede broke out in the general section.
The venue is one of the largest stadiums in Central America and has an official capacity of more than 44,000 fans.
“A sporting event that should have been for healthy recreation turned into a battlefield, in which we have lost the lives of Salvadoran brothers and sisters while others are also fighting (for their lives) in an operating theatre,” Minister of Government, Juan Carlos Bidegain.
The Salvadoran Football Federation said they would immediately request a report on the incident while also suspending the tournament after Saturday’s events, calling for a meeting with the Security Commission of Sports Venues on Sunday.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the National Civil Police and the Attorney General’s Office would conduct a “thorough investigation” into the events at the stadium.
“Everyone will be investigated: teams, managers, stadium, box office, league, federation, etc. Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished,” Bukele wrote on Twitter.
The incident comes after a deadly stampede last year killed 135 spectators at a stadium in Indonesia’s East Java in October. Many were crushed as they fled for exits after police fired tear gas into the crowd.