174 Dead After Fans Stampede to Exit Indonesian Sports Game

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) —

Police officers and soldiers stand amid tear gas smoke after clashes between fans during a game at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Oct. 1. (AP Photo/Yudha Prabowo)

The death toll from panic at an Indonesian sports game climbed to 174, most of whom trampled to death after police fired tear gas to dispel riots Saturday, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world.

Disappointed after their team’s loss, thousands of supporters of Arema, known as “Aremania,” reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and officials. Witnesses said fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch in protest and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home matches against rival Persebaya, this one ended in a loss.

The rioting spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze amid the chaos. Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including toward the stadium’s stands, causing panic among the crowd. Tear gas is banned at soccer stadiums by FIFA.

Some suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of people ran to the exit in an effort to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium, including two officers, and some reports include children among the casualties.

More than 300 were rushed to nearby hospitals to treat injuries but many died on the way.

East Java’s Vice Gov. Emil Dardak told Kompas news channel in an interview Sunday the death toll has climbed to 174, while more than 100 injured people are receiving intensive treatment in eight hospitals without any charge, 11 of them in critical condition.

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