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Indonesia: At least 174 dead in football stadium crush

At least 174 people have died in a crush at an Indonesian football match that has become one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

About 180 were also hurt in aftermath of home team Arema FC’s loss to bitter rivals at the overcrowded stadium late on Saturday 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.

Fifa, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

One eyewitness told the BBC that police had fired numerous tear gas rounds “continuously and fast” after the situation with fans became “tense”.

Fifa President Gianni Infantino said it was “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”.

‘It had gotten anarchic’ – Police
Early reports put the death toll at about 130, but officials later announced a significant rise to 174, with 11 more people seriously injured.

President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been carried out.

A group of people carry a man after a football match
Police fired tear gas, leading to a crowd crush and cases of suffocation

A group of people carry a man after a football match
Police fired tear gas, leading to a crowd crush and cases of suffocation
Videos from the stadium show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle marked the home team’s 2-3 defeat, and police firing tear gas in response.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java, adding that two police officers were among the dead.

“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.

Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, the officer added.

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

 

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