Facebook Twitter

Stampede after soccer match kills at least 127 people, injures 400

The stampede occurred after fans stormed the field, and police sprayed tear gas into the stands

SHARE Stampede after soccer match kills at least 127 people, injures 400

Police officers and soldiers stand amid tear gas smoke after clashes between fans during a soccer match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Panic following police actions left over 100 dead, mostly trampled to death, police said Sunday.

AP Photo/Yudha Prabowo

One of the most violent and deadly catastrophes in a stadium took place in Indonesia on Saturday after the losing side stormed the field, causing a stampede that killed at least 125 people.

Two of Indonesia’s biggest soccer rivals, Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya, went head-to-head in Malang, Indonesia, and Persebaya Surabaya won the match, 3-2. Arema FC fans stormed the pitch, “and police fired tear gas, triggering a fan crush that led to cases of suffocation,” per CNN.

Until that match, Arema FC held a 23-year winning streak at home, according to NPR.

Once fans started throwing bottles and objects at the game officials, security and other team players, police sprayed tear gas into the crowd. The tear gas caused mass panic by obstructing vision, sending the crowd rushing toward the exits, trampling others in the path.

“Officers fired tear gas directly at spectators in the stands, forcing us to run toward the exist,” spectator Ahmad Fatoni told NPR. “Many victims fell because of shortness of breath and difficulty seeing due to the tear gas and were trampled.”

The incident ranks on the list for one of “deadliest episodes in the history of soccer.” In a 1964 riot in Peru, fans disagreed with a referee call, invaded the field and caused an uproar that killed at least 300 people, The New York Times reported.

“I regret that this tragedy occurred, and I hope this is the last football tragedy in the country,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in a speech, per The New York Times.

More than 300 people were transported to the hospital, some still seeking treatment.

Human rights groups blame the police use of tear gas in the stadium, with Amnesty International calling on “Indonesian authorities to conduct a swift, thorough and independent investigation,” according to ESPN.