At least 174 people have been killed and 180 injured at a soccer match as panicked fans were trampled and crushed trying to flee a riot, authorities said on Sunday, in what appears to be the worst stadium disaster in half a century.
Arema FC lost 2-3 to bitter rivals, Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.
The country’s Chief Security Minister told local media that spectators exceeded the stadium’s 38,000 capacity by abound 4,000 people.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been concluded.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch in the stadium in Malang after the Indonesian Premier League game ended.
Disappointed with the loss, thousands of supporters threw bottles and other objects at players and officials before storming the pitch.
In response authorities fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and to cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.
Hundreds of people reportedly ran to an exit gate in an effort to avoid the tear gas. Some suffocated in the chaos and others were trampled.
More than 300 people were rushed to nearby hospitals to treat injuries, but many died on the way or during treatment, Mr Afinta said.
According to the Indonesia’s Chief of Police, at least two police officers were among he dead.
“Thirty-four people died inside the stadium and the rest died in hospital,” Mr Afinta said.
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 dead included a five-year-old child.
Footage posted on social media showed a crowd of spectators rush onto the field. Moments later, police with shields and batons ran on to the field towards the crowd.
Police could be seen kicking and beating people with batons as they attempted to run from the field.
Investigating safety concerns
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.”
Mr Widodo ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.
The highest death told of 328 recorded for a stadium disaster was on 24 May 1964, when Peru hosted Argentina at the Estadio Nacional in Lima. That match attracted a crowd of 53,000 to the stadium.