Stadium gates too small to escape in deadly football stampede, Indonesian police say

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The gates of the Indonesian football stadium where police fired tear gas that triggered a fatal crush were too small and could only accommodate two at a time as hundreds tried to escape, investigators from the city said on Tuesday. the police.

Photos of the Malang stadium where 125 people died and hundreds were injured in one of the deadliest sporting event disasters on Saturday night showed four interconnecting door panels forming a gate. There were 14 gates in total.

Police said the investigation focused on video footage from surveillance cameras at six of the 14 gates where most of the victims died. Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said the doors were unlocked but could only accommodate two people.

« For those six doors, they weren’t closed but they were too small. They had capacity for two people but there were hundreds coming out. There was a crash there, » Prasetyo told reporters. . He added that the gates were the responsibility of the organizers.

Most of the deaths occurred when riot police fired tear gas and unleashed a crush of fans making a panicked and chaotic run for the exits. Police acted after some of Arema FC’s 42,000 supporters stormed onto the pitch in anger after their side lost 3-2, their first home loss to visiting Persebaya Surabaya in 23 years.

On Monday, police announced they had sacked a chief constable and nine elite officers, and 18 others were being investigated for responsibility for firing tear gas inside the stadium.

WATCH | Indonesian police face questions after stampede at stadium:

Over 120 dead in stampede at football stadium in Indonesia

Indonesian police are facing questions over their tactics after they fired tear gas inside a football stadium, sparking a stampede that left more than 120 people dead and hundreds injured.

Contrary to the police account, some survivors said some of the exit doors were locked and they were unable to escape. Most of them mentioned Gate 13 specifically.

We wanted to escape but the door was closed. That’s why most people died.— Prasetyo Pujiono, farmer from Malang, who watched the game near Gate 13

According to FIFA and Asian Football Confederation recommendations, stadium exits should always be unlocked during the match for security reasons. These rules do not necessarily apply to state or national leagues, but are nonetheless a safety standard, as is the recommendation against the use of tear gas as a crowd control measure.

« People tried to run away after tear gas was fired. My group got separated from each other, » said Prasetyo Pujiono, a 32-year-old farmer from Malang, who watched the game with friends near from gate 13.

indonesia soccer incident
People storm the pitch during the football match at Kanjuruhan Stadium on Saturday. (Yudha Prabowo/Associated Press)

The fans broke through the wall

« People couldn’t stay inside the stadium anymore. We wanted to escape but the gate was closed. That’s why most people died of being trampled or suffocated, » he said. « I remember them screaming that they couldn’t breathe and their eyes were hurting. »

Those trying to escape eventually broke through the wall next to Gate 13, leaving behind a large hole with the scribbled graffiti that read: « Goodbye my brothers and sisters. 01-10-2022 »

Hundreds of Arema supporters and residents have been paying tribute to the victims at Gates 13 and 12 since Monday. They prayed together, laid rose petals, bouquets of flowers and placed several Arema scarves around the doors.

Pujianto said he moved more than 20 bodies scattered around Gate 13.

« Poor of them. So many bodies were strewn around Gate 13. We couldn’t have gotten out if we hadn’t moved them. So my friends and I carried them to the field, » he said. declared.

Evita Triawardani, a 26-year-old Arema fan, said that at every game she attended, the organizer usually opened the gates 15 to 20 minutes before the game was over. But that Saturday night, she said gate 13 was locked. She ran out of the stadium through Gate 14, which she said was open.

She said she saw people crying and gasping amid clouds of tear gas, and parents holding their children above their shoulders so they could breathe. At least 17 children were among the dead.

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