Hillsborough relatives grieve for Ellis Park victims
Hillsborough relatives grieve for Ellis Park victims

Posted in News on Apr 16, 2001.

Relatives of the 95 fans who were crushed to death at the

Hillsborough stadium tragedy in 1989 said Thursday they were

horrified to see similar scenes at Ellis Park in South Africa on


Coming just four days before the 12th anniversary of the

Hillsborough tragedy, the deaths of 43 people at the Kaizer

Chiefs-Orlando Pirates game in Johannesburg brought back painful

memories for the Liverpool fans who died at the April 15 FA Cup

semifinal against Nottingham Forest.

"I saw the coverage on television last night," said Trevor Hicks,

whose two teenage daughters were killed at Hillsborough.

"I went through a mixture of emotions, being totally gutted in

terms of emotion and angry that something so terrible could happen

again. The pictures were those of Hillsborough all over again. It is just unbelievable, it really is. It brings it all flashing back.

"We can't help but feel empathy with the families in South Africa

who must be suffering as we did."

The two tragedies bore marked similarities.

Both were high profile games with fans arriving late and trying to

get into an already crowded section of the ground. In each case the

games had started and had to be halted when it was realized what

had happened in the stands.

While the bodies of the dead were laid out on the field at

Hillsborough, the same happened behind one of the goals at Ellis

Park, as playing fields became temporary morgues.

Hicks said the Ellis Park deaths were another reminder that soccer

should not ease up on the strict safety measures that followed the

Hillsborough tragedy.

There have been moves in Germany and England to return to standing

areas in grounds to recreate noisier crowds. Hicks said it was a

bad move.

"There are a few people trying to impose their will on the rest of

us," he said, referring to a call by Sports Minister Kate Hoey to

reintroduce standing areas. "There must be no going back. We should

all be moving in the same direction to make football grounds even


"The Government should come out with an unequivocal promise that

there will never be a winding back of safety standards including

the return of terraces."

Hicks said he and other Hillsborough victims would get in touch

with those affected by the Ellis Park tragedy to express their


"A lot of members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group will be

grieving today. I will be trying to contact the South African

embassy," he said.

"Obviously we will be sending a message of condolence to the

families of those who have died and those who do not know if there

loved ones are coming back. Some appear to be very seriously


"We will do all we can to help," Hicks said. "It is so reminiscent

of Hillsborough it is untrue. We had always feared this and said it

would happen again one day."

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