February 8th- Remember them.Olympiakos
Posted by Mr Mojo Risin' on February 4, 2008, 01:06:48 PM
The Karaiskaki Stadium disaster occurred on February 8, 1981, in Pireaus, Greece, after a football match between Olympiacos and AEK Athens FC.
A total number of 21 supporters lost their lives while rushing out of the stadium to celebrate the victory of Olympiacos against AEK Athens FC (6-0). The accident took place in the historic "Gate 7" (Θύρα 7).
The main cause for the accident seems to be a partially closed door . While exiting, some fans lost their balance and fell on the last steps. Dozens fell onto each other and were stepped over by unsuspecting fans who kept coming. 21 supporters lost their lives and many more got injured. Most of them were teenagers or in their mid-20s.
The accident occurred in a gate where supporters of Olympiacos where concentrated, however one of the victims was reported to be a supporter of AEK Athens FC.
"Gate 7" (Θύρα 7) , οne of the most supportive fan clubs of Olympiacos was named after the incident.
Just another ordinary day for the football fans in Greece, just like any other Sunday, especially for the supporters of Olympiacos FC who love to dedicate this day of the week to their beloved team, no matter whether they are playing away or at home.
It was a bright, sunny day. A day that which put everyone in a good mood and nothing could suggest the tragic events that were in store for later, in the afternoon. Regarding the football championship, this was the competition’s match day 20 and the reds under the instructions of Kazimir Gorsky, were hosting -in the Karaiskaki stadium- the game against AEK, who were only two points behind in the championship table.
The total of 35.450 tickets that were at the disposal of the fans had already been sold out and we wouldn’t be exaggerating if we said that on that day, all roads led to… Karaiskaki which, all dressed in red and white, was awaiting the game’s first whistle.
Olympiacos fans began to arrive at the Karaiskaki stadium at noon, (game time: 15.15), all in red scarves, flags, drums and banners, ready to support the players of their beloved team, just like they always did, and help them win the game.
The clock was ticking away and all the more fans were entering the stadium and just an hour before the game’s first kick it was all packed up to capacity. It was a thrilling sight, for the chanting and mottos and cheering of both team fans wouldn’t stop.
The stadium was literally rocked half an hour before the beginning of the game, when the Olympiacos players entered the playing field to warm up. A little while earlier, the players of AEK had been the receivers of catcalls from the red fans who formed the majority of the attendees. A few seconds before the clock stroke 15.15, the lineups of the two opponent teams took their position in front of referee Koutoulas.
Olympiacos were starting off with Sarganis, Kirastas, Vamvakoulas, Papadopoulos, Novoselac, Kousoulakis, Persias, Nikoloudis, Anastopoulos, Orfanos and Galakos.
On the other side AEK lined up with Economopoulos, Ardizoglou, Manolas, Karavitis, Paraprastanitis, Thodis, Vlahos, Eleftherakis, Kottis, Bajevic and Mavros. After thirty minutes of play and following an out by Vaggelis Kousoulakis and a cross by Takis Persias, Mike Galakos, just a few yards left from the opponent’s post, controlled the ball with his chest and unleashed a fierce shot with his left foot netting the ball in the back of the net defended by Economopoulos. The Karaiskki stadium was rocked once more by the celebration of the red fans. The score was 1 - 0.
The second half began with AEK making a substitution. More specifically, Nikolaou substituted Thodis at the 46th minute. A few minutes later, at the 51st, Manolas was booked for the second time and withdrew to the locker rooms after having committed a strong foul on Mike Galakos. Fifty third minute already. The ball left the feet of Vaggelis Kousoulakis and reached those of Takis Persias who made an entrance from the left side and passed the ball on to Mike Galakos. In his turn, and approximately six meters farther, Galakos beat Economopoulos again and scored. The score was now 2 - 0. Minute 68 and Takis Nikoloudis makes a cross. Vaggelis Kousoulakis steals the ball from Karavitis and nets the third goal for the reds. The score was 3 - 0 and the fans on the terrace were going crazy of joy.
Minute 75. Takis Nikoloudis passes the ball on to Kostas Orfanos who was in the box and Orfanos lofts the ball and scores. New score: 4 - 0.
Minute 80. Nikos Vamvakoulas wins the ball in the middle of the field, surpasses everyone in his way to the nets, shoots the ball and scores. Olympiacos has the lead by 5 - 0.
Minute 84. Following a small confusion in the box of Economopoulos, Kostas Orfanos took the shot, the ball reached Galakos who scored for the third time that evening and modified the score again to 6 - 0. The fans could not stop celebrating and the cheer OLYMPIACOS - OLYMPIACOS was still rocking the stadium. But faith had more in store for that day…
Many Olympiacos fans who were located in the stadium’s GATE 7, tried to rush out, a short while before the game’s final whistle, in order to reach Gate 1 and cheer for the triumphant team. Time was 16:58 at that moment and the game had only two more minutes to go.
One of the fans who were running cheerfully towards the exit door, tripped on a pillow and fell on the exit steps. The “fatal” door was locked, or according to others only a crack opened, and the tragedy followed. Dozens of people fell onto each other and were stepped over by the waves of fans who kept coming, completely unsuspicious.
17:03: Some policemen manage to tear off one of the turn pikes thus freeing many people.
17:15: Dead and wounded are transferred in police cars and 13 ambulances to the Tzanio hospital in Piraeus, while both the police force as well as the hospitals have been ordered to stay on guard.
17:30: Several fans gather outside the Tzanio hospital, full of agony.
17:50: The TV networks, ERT (Hellenic Radio and TV network) and IENED (Special Forces Information Service) are broadcasting the event and are imploring both the doctors to visit the Tzanio hospital in order to help the duty doctors as well as the citizens to donate blood. More personnel is further mobilized at the State Piraeus hospital (Kratiko Pireos in Greek), where more severe wounded fans are being transferred.
18:20: The Social Services Minister, Mr. Doxiadis along with his General Secretaries, Mr. Tsoukandas and Mr. Apostolatos arrive at the Tzanio hospital and order the doctors and donators to further assists the needy.
18:30: The flying squad requests from the police cars crew and the volunteers blood donating officers to hurry and get to the two hospitals. Hundreds of policemen donate their blood.
18:50: The Minister of Law and Order, Mr. Davakis and the General Secretary of the Government’s Presidency, Mr. Ahilleas Karamanlis, along with supreme police officers and executives of Olympiacos FC and AEK, arrive at the Tzanio hospital.
19:00: Following Mr. Karavas’, First Aid Center Director, orders, the KAT hospital in Maroussi is also called to be on guard in order to be ready to take in the wounded in need of a neurosurgeon.
19:15: Hundreds of individuals have gathered outside the Tzanio hospital and are desperately trying to find out the names of the injured.
19:30: Many doctors and blood donors rush to help out while several women faint due to their agony.
19:40: Minister Mr. Doxiadis informs the Prime Minister, Mr. Rallis, who orders for the necessary measures and in his turn informs the President of the Republic, Mr. Karamanlis.
19:45: The armed forces block the Tzanio hospital entrance in order to achieve the evacuation of the hospital main entrance and facilitate the access to doctors and blood donors.
20:00: The relatives go hysterical outside the hospital. The three first victims are identified. There names are Yiannis Kanellopoulos, Yiannis Dialinas and Vassilis Mahos. Unfortunately, many more followed and the number of victims reached 21.
20:15: The officers of the 7th Police Department begin their investigation at GATE 7 and are looking for clues as to how this tragic incident took place.
20:30: Prime Minister, George Rallis, arrives at the Tzanio hospital. Several severely wounded are transferred to the General State Hospital in Piraeus and the KAT Hospital in Maroussi. Doctors and nurses walk the hallways filled with blood and announce the names of the injured. Many relatives of the wounded faint.
20:50: The TV and radio networks play funeral music having interrupted their ordinary schedule as a sign of bereavement.
21:00: About 300 or 400 people in a bad mood are attempting to enter the Karaiskaki stadium and get to the people responsible for this tragedy. They are pulled back by an armed forces squad.
21:15: The commander-in-chief of the Tzanio hospital, Mr. Apergis, steps into the hallway and implores the relatives to evacuate the hospital entrance for they are getting in the way of the police cars and ambulances. More imploring for the same purpose was taking place via the national TV network.
22:00 People are slowly starting to back away from the two hospitals...
To end this brief reference to the tragic events that occurred on February 8, 1981, we would like to try and decode the causes of this tragedy of GATE 7, through the words -and we quote- coming from one of the wounded, 18 year old (back then) Ilias Litras, who was one of the first to fall on the steps of GATE 7:
The door was only a crack open. When I reached the last steps however, I tripped and fell. Before I could even realize what was going on, people started falling over me. One, two, three…, ten…, a hundred…
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