More than 174 people, including a five-year-old baby and two police officers, were killed after a riot broke out during a football match between Indonesia’s top flight league clubs Arema and Persebaya Surabaya in the city of East Java.
Pandemonium began immediately after the final whistle in the game that ended 3-2 in favour of Persebaya Surabaya, followed by a dreadful pitch invasion by the fans of Arema at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.
The fans reportedly started attacking police officers and burning cars as the event turned into anarchy.
Subsequently, police operatives started firing tear gas into the crowd which resulted in a stampede and huge chaos. More than 300 people were rushed to nearby hospitals but many couldn’t make it to the hospital while some died during treatment.
Multiple reports claimed that some players who were still on the pitch during the incident were not spared during arguably the worst stadium disaster in history.
According to Skysports, a local health official in the country said many of the victims died as a result of “chaos, overcrowding, trampling and suffocation”.
The stadium was also reported to be filled beyond capacity by Indonesia’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, who said on social media that 42,000 tickets for the stadium should have accommodated a maximum of 38,000 people at once.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has since expressed his condolences to the victims of the unfortunate incident.
“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,” he said. “We must continue to maintain sportsmanship, humanity and a sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.”
Football matches in the country are set to be postponed until a proper investigation is conducted on the deadly incident.