Argentina’s triumphant World Cup-winning squad were forced to complete their victory parade in Buenos Aires with a helicopter flyover after footage appeared to show a fan diving on to their open-top bus.
The streets of the capital were thronged by ecstatic supporters, with the homecoming of Lionel Messi and company having been declared a national holiday following their thrilling penalty shoot-out win over France in Qatar.
But the planned journey, reportedly set to take in 50 miles after departure from the Argentinian Football Association grounds, was halted before its end point on security advice.
While that could have had something to do with the vast number of people crowded into the Obelisk, one of Buenos Aires’ most famous monuments, video emerged on social media which seemed to capture a safety breach as a reveller lowered himself from an overpass and dropped on to the open deck occupied by players and staff.
One clip appeared to show a fan landing among the passengers, with a second attempting to follow suit only to fall backwards off the back of the bus and into the crowd.
A statement from AFA president Claudio Tapia indicated that the squad were upset not to continue their journey as intended, rather than spooked by events on the route.
“They do not let us arrive to greet all the people who were in the Obelisk, the same security agencies that escorted us do not allow us to move forward,” said Tapia.
“A thousand apologies on behalf of all the champion players. A pity.”
Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who had earlier posted shots on Instagram of massed ranks of fans partying as the bus passed through, later added a selfie that showed him with a broad smile riding in the back of the helicopter.
Gabriela Cerruti, a spokesperson for Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez, tweeted about the team taking to the skies and requested for calm amid the party atmosphere.
“The World Champions are flying over the entire route in helicopters because it became impossible to continue on land due to the explosion of popular joy,” she wrote.
“Let’s continue to celebrate in peace and show them our love and admiration!”
The AFA had previously urged the public to “move calmly to that (Obelisk) area to enjoy this unforgettable moment in peace”.
The numbers, estimated by some to be in the region of four million, simply overwhelmed the convoy, which was led by police outriders.