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 the city of Johannesburg for the local derby soccer match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. There was already a 68,000 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 further, and may have been the cause of the deaths. The South African Police Department denies these claims.
Photo: Kim Ludbrook
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 was revived.