Jakarta: Over 125 people were killed and hundreds more sustained injuries at a football stadium in Indonesia after fans invaded the pitch, causing a stampede.
The incident happened on Saturday night in the eastern city of Malangm and was one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters.
According to an AFP report, a clash broke out between supporters of Javanese clubs Arema and Persebaya Surabaya after the former were defeated at the match in Malang Regency, which led to the stampede, forcing cops to respond with tear gas.
Supporters from the losing team then “invaded” the pitch and police fired tear gas, triggering a stampede that led to cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta said during a press conference following the event.
Two police officers were also among the dead, he said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.
More than 300 people were injured, according to Indonesian authorities, with fears that the death toll could rise. Earlier on Sunday, the governor of the East Java province, where the incident occurred, said the death toll was at 131.
National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo clarified the discrepancy of the previous higher numbers saying it was due to some casualties being recorded twice.
Amnesty International called for an investigation into why tear gas was deployed in a confined space, saying it should only be used “when other methods have failed”.
People carried injured spectators through the chaos and survivors lugged lifeless bodies out of the stadium.
Video footage circulating on social media showed people shouting obscenities at police, who were holding riot shields and wielding batons.
The football world mourned the disaster with Gianni Infantino, president of world football governing body FIFA, calling the stampede “a tragedy beyond comprehension”.
Manchester United and Barcelona posted tributes online while Spanish football clubs were to observe a minute’s silence before matches on Sunday as a mark of respect.