At least 125 people have died and around 320 injured after a crowd crush at an Indonesian football match, which has become one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
The incident occurred after a match in which the Javanese club Arema was defeated by their rivals Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang regency, East Java on Saturday night.
The stampede occurred after police used tear gas on fans who had invaded the pitch. As panic spread, thousands rushed to the Kanjuruhan stadium exits, where many died from suffocation.
Fifa’s President Gianni Infantino said it was “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”.
The organization further added that “no crowd control gas” should be carried or used by police at matches.
According to a hospital director, one of the victims was five years old.
“The worst part was when victims came to be treated by the team doctor,” Arema coach Javier Roca said. “Approximately 20 people arrived, four of whom died.” “Fans were killed in the arms of players.”
Officials had previously stated that the death toll was 174, but revised this figure down on Sunday evening, citing cross-referenced data from ten hospitals. Another 320 people were hurt.
Fans scurried to escape thick clouds of teargas, with some attempting to carry other injured spectators to safety, according to social media footage and images.
Rights activists have demanded an explanation for the police response, citing Fifa stadium safety guidelines that state “crowd control gas” should not be carried or used by police around the perimeter of the field of play.
Usman Hamid, Amnesty International’s executive director for Indonesia, said the deaths “cannot go unanswered” and urged authorities to “ensure that those found to have committed violations are tried in open court and do not merely receive internal or administrative sanctions.”
Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president has directed authorities to thoroughly re-evaluate security at football matches and has ordered a suspension of Liga 1 matches.
Saturday’s events would be remembered as the “last soccer tragedy in the country,” he further said.
“I deeply regret this tragedy, and I hope that it is the last in our country,” Widodo said.
Meanwhile, FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated that the football world is “in shock.