At least 174 people were killed and some 180 hurt at a soccer match in Indonesia as panicked fans were trampled and crushed trying to flee a riot, authorities said on Sunday, in what appeared to be the worst stadium disaster in half a century, Stanley Widianto, Stefano Sulaiman and Yuddy Cahya Budiman reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Spectators at a Stadion Kanjurahan match
When supporters of the losing home team invaded the pitch in East Java province on Saturday night to express their frustration, officers fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering a stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.
"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.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch in the stadium in Malang after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya. Scuffles can be seen, with what appeared to be tear gas in the air. Images showed people who appeared to have lost consciousness being carried away by other fans.
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. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be the last tragedy.
Zainudin Amali, Indonesia's sports minister, told KompasTV the ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.
Saturday's stadium disaster appeared to be the deadliest since 328 people were reported dead in a riot and crush when Peru hosted Argentine at the Estadio Nacional in 1964.
In an infamous 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.