At least 125 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match that has become one of the world’s worst stadium disasters. Hundreds were also hurt in the aftermath of home team Arema FC’s loss to bitter rivals at the overcrowded stadium late on October 1 in Malang, East Java.
The crush took place after police tear-gassed fans who invaded the pitch. As panic spread, thousands surged towards Kanjuruhan stadium’s exits, where many suffocated, reported BBC.
FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches. The organisation’s president Gianni Infantino said it was “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”. One eyewitness told the BBC that police had fired numerous tear gas rounds “continuously and fast” after the situation with fans became “tense”.
Next to one exit gate a hole smashed through the wall testifies to the desperation to escape the crush that developed. Indonesian officials at one stage put the death toll in the disaster as high at 174 people, but this was later revised downwards.
President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been carried out.