Lifestyle & Belief

Hillsborough soccer disaster blamed on police, ambulance response 23 years later


Children lay floral tributes to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster at the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield stadium after the publication of the independent report into the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster on September 12, 2012 in Liverpool, England. Ninety-six fans were crushed to death on overcrowded terraces at Hillsborough football stadium, Sheffield, during the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.


Christopher Furlong

British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized today to families of soccer fans killed 23 years ago during the infamous Hillsborough disaster.

It was Britain’s worst sporting disaster when – on April 15, 1989 – 96 spectators died in a crush of humanity during a game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semifinal.

The Hillsborough stadium terraces were overcrowded, and many victims suffocated as fans pushed forward.

“I want to be very clear about the view the government takes about these findings and why after 23 years this matters so much, not just for the families but for Liverpool and for our country as a whole,” Cameron said.

“What happened that day – and since – was wrong.”

The apology comes as a new report into the incident and reaction is published.

After scrutinizing 450,000 pages and reopening old documents, the Hillsborough Independent Panel cast doubt on police and emergency services handling of the tragedy, CNN reported.

More from GlobalPost: Officials fired after Port Said soccer riots in Egypt

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, chaired the panel.

He said he hopes “greater transparency will bring to the families and the wider public a greater understanding of the tragedy and its aftermath,” according to CNN.

“It is only with this transparency that the families and survivors, who have behaved with such dignity, can with some sense of truth and justice cherish the memory of their 96 loved ones,” the bishop said.

The report concluded that police tried to blame drunk and unruly fans for the disaster, BBC said.

South Yorkshire Police altered reports and spread rumors and accusations through the press.

The report also suggested ambulance teams didn’t enact a disaster response plan.

Trevor Hicks lost two daughters at Hillsborough and said the families are still pressing for “accountability,” BBC reported.

“The truth is out today, justice starts tomorrow,” he said, according to BBC.

More from GlobalPost: 75 people charged over Egypt’s Port Said soccer riot