Death toll in stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match climbs to 174
The Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week following a riot after the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang Regency on Saturday.
The death toll in a stampede that occurred following riots at a football match in Indonesia climbed to 174, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world. The incident occurred during a football match of Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang Regency in East Java on Saturday night.
Indonesia's police chief in East Java province, Nico Afinta, told reporters that authorities had to fire tear gas after supporters from the losing side invaded the pitch following a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya, leading to a stampede and cases of suffocation.
"Thirty-four people died inside the stadium and the rest died in hospital," Nico said in a statement on Sunday.
Video footage posted on social media showed people rushing onto the pitch in the stadium in Malang and images of body bags.
"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.
Indonesia's football association (PSSI) issued a statement late Saturday night expressing regret over the incident and said a team has left for Malang to start an investigation into what happened after the game
"PSSI regrets the actions of Arema supporters at the Kanjuruhan Stadium. We are sorry and apologize to the families of the victims and all parties for the incident. For that PSSI immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang," the statement read.
The league has suspended games for a week following the riot which claimed at least 127 lives and injured 180. Arema FC team has also been prohibited from hosting for the rest of the competition this season.
"We announced the decision after we received a direction from the Chairman of PSSI. We are doing this to respect everything and while waiting for the investigation process from PSSI," President Director of league owner PT LIB, Akhmad Hadian Lukita said.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP)