'Heartbreaking': Football clubs and players saddened by death of over 170 people in Indonesia stampede
At least 174 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match that has become one of the world's worst stadium disasters.
One of the greatest stadium tragedies in history occurred at an Indonesian football game on Saturday night, where a stampede claimed at least 174 lives. On the main island of Java, horrific incidents marred the end of the BRI Liga 1 game as Arema FC fell to Persebaya Surabaya 3-2 at home, causing dozens of Arema supporters to invade the field.
Amid the on-field violence at Kanjuruhan Stadium, baton-wielding riot police immediately fired tear gas on the field and into the stands as the fans retreated. As panic spread, thousands surged towards the stadium's exits, where many suffocated.
A terrifying video shows spectators leaping fences to flee the smoke, which did not go away. Some spectators are seen collapsing to the ground, losing consciousness, and being trampled by stampedes.
According to reports, several supporters cornered by the tear gas experienced oxygen deprivation and breathing problems.
More horrific video shows a nearby hospital's hallways filled with rows of blue-tinted bodies. According to local reports, hospitals find handling the influx of dead and injured patients challenging. As a result, the death toll continued to rise throughout the night.
As tensions between the fans reached a breaking point, more riots broke out outside the stadium. Bricks were thrown at passing automobiles, and cars were set on fire.
Football Association chief Mochamad Iriawan appeared to accept some responsibility for the chaotic and heartbreaking scenes at the end of the match when he apologised 'to the families of the victims and all parties'.'
"For that PSSI [Indonesian Football Association] immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang," he said.
Arema pegged Persebaya back in the fiercely contested Super East Java Derby after falling behind 2-0 on Saturday night. However, Arema's remarkable comeback fell short when they gave up a late goal to lose the game, infuriating their supporters.
When order was ultimately restored inside the stadium following the disturbance, pictures of police cars on fire on the field surfaced.
Akhmad Hadian Lukita, the president of PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) said, "We are concerned and deeply regret this incident. We share our condolences and hopefully this will be a valuable lesson for all of us."
Victorious Persebaya's official Twitter account posted on Saturday evening, "Persebaya's extended family deeply mourns the loss of life after the Arema FC vs Persebaya match. No single life is worth football. We pray for the victims and may the families left behind be given strength."
The Indonesian football association PSSI has suspended all league matches for one week following the tragedy. At the same time, Arema will not be permitted to host more home matches for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, several football clubs and players worldwide took to social media to condole the death of over 170 people in the tragic stampede in Indonesia. Here's a look at some of the reactions: