TEGUCIGALPA – Thousands of fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a soccer championship stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas Sunday, leaving at least four people dead. A pregnant woman lost her fetus and was among another 25 people who were injured, authorities said.
A spokesman for University Teaching Hospital told a news agency that the victims died from suffocation and multiple broken bones from being trampled. The fetus died when its mother suffered severe injuries, spokesman Miguel Osorio said.
The stampede happened at Gate 11 of the National Stadium in Honduras’ capital as fans tried to push their way into the jammed venue to see the game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso, officials said.
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A police statement said the match appeared to have been oversold. It said the stadium, which has a capacity of 30,000, was already full while crowds of fans were still outside brandishing tickets. People became angry when they couldn’t enter and began forcing their way in, the statement said.
About 600 police officers were guarding the stadium and used water cannon and tear gas trying to push back the crowds.
Motagua won the game 3-0, but club president Eduardo Atala tweeted afterward that “there is nothing to celebrate with what happened outside the stadium.”