At least 174 people were feared killed and 180 injured in a stampede and riot at a soccer match in Indonesia, officials said on Sunday, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
When frustrated supporters of the losing home team invaded the pitch in Malang in the province of East Java late on Saturday, officers fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Nico said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 p.m. (1500 GMT). Scuffles can be seen, with what appeared to be tear gas in the air.
Images showed people who appeared to have lost consciousness being carried away by other fans.
The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be “the last soccer tragedy in the nation.”
Jokowi, as the president is known, ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.