125 killed in Indonesia football stampede, one of worst sports tragedies – Flying Journals

125 killed in Indonesia football stampede, one of worst sports tragedies

Indonesia: Many victims were trampled or suffocated to death, according to police.


At least 125 people died at an Indonesian football stadium when thousands of angry home fans stormed the pitch, authorities said on Sunday, with police responding with tear gas, sparking a stampede.

The tragedy in the city of Malang on Saturday night also injured 323 people and was one of the deadliest stadium disasters in the world, according to police.

Arema FC supporters at Kanjuruhan Stadium after their team’s 3-2 loss to visiting and arch-rivals Persebaya Surabaya.

Police, who described the riot as a “riot”, said they tried to force fans back into the stands and fired tear gas after two police officers were killed.

Many victims were trampled or suffocated to death, according to police.

At least 125 people have died, East Java’s deputy governor Emil Dardak told broadcaster Metro TV late Sunday, sharply reducing officials’ earlier double-counting of 174 deaths.

“Some names were recorded twice because they were referred to another hospital and recorded again,” he said, citing data collected by local police from 10 hospitals.

Survivors described panic in the crowd as tear gas rained down.

“The police fired tear gas, people rushed out unconsciously and pushed each other, causing many victims,” ​​Donny, 43, who declined to give his last name, told AFP.

“Nothing happened, no rioting. I don’t know what the problem was, they fired tear gas all of a sudden. It shocked me, they didn’t think of the child, woman?”

President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation into the tragedy, a safety review of all football matches, and directed the country’s football federation to suspend all games until “safety improvements” were completed.

One of the victims was five years old, a hospital director told local television.

Images taken from inside the stadium during the stampede showed police firing a lot of tear gas and people climbing over the fence.

Amnesty International has called for an inquiry into why tear gas is deployed in confined spaces, saying it should only be used “when other methods have failed”.

People carried injured spectators amid the chaos, and survivors dragged lifeless bodies out of the stadium.

“It was horrible, it was shocking,” Sam Gilang, a 22-year-old survivor who lost three friends in a crush, told AFP.

“People were shoving each other…Many were trampled on their way to the exit. The tear gas made my eyes burn. Luckily, I climbed the fence and survived,” he said.

enduring violence

Video clips circulating on social media showed people shouting swear words at officers armed with riot shields and baton-wielding batons.

Burned vehicles, including a police car, littered the streets outside the stadium on Sunday morning.

The stadium, which has a capacity of 42,000, authorities said was sold out. Police said 3,000 people poured into the stadium.

Fan violence is a long-standing problem in Indonesia, where previously fierce rivalries have turned into deadly confrontations.

Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are longtime rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans banned from buying match tickets over fears of violence.

However, Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said organizers had ignored suggestions to reduce the number of tickets printed and to schedule the games in the afternoon instead of the evening.

Arema fans threw petals at a monument to the club’s lion mascot outside the stadium on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims.

In Jakarta, as many as 300 fans gathered for a candlelight vigil outside Indonesia’s largest Gelora Bung Karno stadium, including some dubbed the stubborn “Superman.” Someone chanted “Murderer!” and set off firecrackers.

Football world mourns

Gianni Infantino, president of world football’s governing body FIFA, mourned the disaster, calling the stampede “an incomprehensible tragedy”.

Manchester United and Barcelona posted their condolences online, while Spanish football clubs will observe a minute’s silence before Sunday’s game as a sign of respect.

The German Football Association and Serie A also tweeted their condolences.

The AFC, the governing body of football in the region, expressed its condolences to the victims.

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) is in touch with FIFA over the stampede and wants to avoid sanctions, PSSI secretary general Yunus Yossi told a news conference.

FIFA’s safety guidelines prohibit police or staff from carrying crowd control gas on the pitch.

Indonesia will host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in May.

It also joined South Korea and Qatar in a bid to replace China as the host of the 2023 Asian Cup, with a decision due this month.

Other stadium disasters include the 1989 crush at Britain’s Hillsborough Stadium, which killed 97 Liverpool fans, and the 2012 tragedy at Egypt’s Port Said Stadium, in which 74 people were killed in clashes.

In 1964, a stampede during the Peru-Argentina Olympic qualifiers at the National Stadium in Lima killed 320 people and injured more than 1,000.

(Apart from the title, this story was unedited by NDTV staff and was posted from a syndicated feed.)

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