Ellis Park Stadium disaster
The Ellis Park Stadium disaster was the worst sporting accident in South African history. On 11 April 2001, spectators poured into the Ellis Park Stadium in the city of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, for the local Soweto derby association football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. There was already a 60,000 capacity crowd in the stadium, but reports suggest a further 30,000 fans were still trying to gain entry to the stadium. Reports also suggest that 120,000 fans were admitted into the stadium. An Orlando Pirates equaliser sparked a further surge by the fans trying to gain entry as they scrambled to see what had happened.
As the crowd surged to gain seats and see the pitch, they overspilled into press boxes. As the stampede pressed forward, 43 people were crushed to death. Apparently untrained security guards firing tear gas at the stampeding fans exacerbated the situation, and may have been the cause of some of the deaths. The South African Police Department denies these claims. The final inquiry into the incident concluded that a major cause was bribed security personnel admitting fans without tickets into the stadium and poor crowd control.
When it became apparent what had happened, the match was halted and the crowd was dispersed. The bodies were laid out on the pitch for identification and medical attention, but none were revived. It is the worst sporting accident in South African history. The second worst, the Oppenheimer Stadium disaster, mirrored this one as it involved the same two teams. Forty-two people died in 1991 in a stampede after too many fans were admitted to Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney, a provincial town some 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Johannesburg.
- Final Report by the Commission of inquiry into the Ellis Park Stadium Soccer disaster of 11 April 2001
- South African press
- BBC coverage