An injured fan is carried to the field of Cuscatlan stadium following a stampede in San Salvador. AP
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 government tweeted.
On Saturday night, the Alianza F.C. and Club Deportivo FAS teams were playing a quarter-final game at the Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador, the capital.
Play was suspended after a stampede broke out in the general section of the stadium, a venue with a capacity for more than 44,000 fans.
"The Salvadoran Football Federation deeply regrets the events that occurred at the Cuscatlan Stadium," the organisation wrote on Twitter. "It also expresses solidarity with the relatives of those affected and deceased in this incident."
The tweet added the organisation would immediately request a report on the incident.
An injured fan iscarried to the field of Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Saturday. AP
Carlos Fuentes, spokesman for the first aid group Rescue Commandos, also confirmed the deaths.
"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,” Fuentes said.
Play was suspended about 16 minutes into the match, when fans in the stands waving frantically began getting the attention of those on the field and carrying the injured out of a tunnel and down to the pitch.
Local television transmitted live images of the aftermath of the stampede by Alianza fans. Dozens made it onto the field where they received medical treatment. Fans who escaped the crush stood on the field furiously waving shirts attempting to review people lying on the grass barely moving.
Members of the forensic team wait outside the Cuzcatlan stadium following a stampede in San Salvador. Reuters
Pedro Hernández, president of El Salvador soccer's first division, said the preliminary information he had was that the stampede occurred because fans managed to push through a gate into the stadium.
"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 told journalists.
National Civil Police Commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas, at the scene of the tragedy, said there would be a criminal investigation in conjunction 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,” where, he said, the gate was pushed open.
The Salvadoran Soccer Federation said in a statement that it regretted what had happened and voiced support for the victims' families.
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