Indonesia revises death toll from football stadium stampede

A riot and stampede at a football match in Indonesia on Saturday has led to the deaths of 125 people and at least 180 injuries.

Officials have revised the earlier figure of 174 deaths.

The incident, which is being seen as one of the world’s worst stadium disasters, took place on Saturday night at Kanjuruhan stadium in East Java province’s Malang city after Arema FC lost to Persebaya Surabaya.

Police responded to the riot by firing teargas on the crowd, causing panic. Fifa has banned the use of teargas in stadiums.

“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the teargas as [fans] began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” said East Java police chief Nico Afinta at a press conference early on Sunday.

East Java’s deputy governor, Emil Dardak, revised the death toll from the incident to 125 casualties after earlier telling local media there were 174 deaths.

He said more than 100 of those injured are receiving treatment in eight hospitals without charge. About 11 of them are in critical condition.

A medical officer checks on victims at Saiful Anwar hospital (Reuters)
A medical officer checks on victims at Saiful Anwar hospital (Reuters)

The rioting had spread to outside the stadium, reported the Associated Press, which said at least five police vehicles were set ablaze. Visuals showed two damaged cars inside the stadium as well.

As hundreds rushed to exit the stadium, some suffocated and others were trampled.

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has called for a probe into the incident and offered condolences to the families of those who died.

Damaged police vehicles lay on the pitch (EPA)
Damaged police vehicles lay on the pitch (EPA)

In televised comments on Sunday, the president said: “I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last soccer tragedy in this country. Don’t let another human tragedy like this happen in the future.”

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said it was a “dark day” for those involved with the sport.

“The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium,” he said.

“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” he added.

Video footage on local television channels showed fans pouring onto the pitch, with some carrying others who lost consciousness.

A police officer fires tear gas during the riot (via REUTERS)
A police officer fires tear gas during the riot (via REUTERS)

According to the head of one of the nearby hospitals treating the injured, some of the victims sustained brain injuries and the dead included a five-year-old child, reported Metro TV.

Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s chief security minister, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond capacity.

He added that 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that is only supposed to hold 38,000 people.

Football fans evacuate a girl during a clash between fans at Kanjuruhan Stadium (EPA)
Football fans evacuate a girl during a clash between fans at Kanjuruhan Stadium (EPA)

East Java governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters that financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims.

Indonesia’s human rights commission has said that an investigation into the grounds’ security will be conducted, including the use of teargas.

A group of football fans carry an unconscious man (AFP via Getty)
A group of football fans carry an unconscious man (AFP via Getty)

After the incident, Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week, the Football Association of Indonesia said.

It added that an investigation had been also been launched.