129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match
A stampede broke out during a football match between Indonesia’s national team and China in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday evening, killing at least 27 people, police said.
There are conflicting accounts about the number of people who died after the crowd began to run into each other in the chaos.
The official death toll on the country’s deadliest mass disaster in recent years was 24, but many Indonesians said that some of those killed were from the crowd that tried to run onto a highway and were crushed.
Rescue workers struggled to pull wounded people from the chaos on the second day of the match as the stadium emptied with spectators fleeing in terror.
The stadium had been a popular venue that attracts millions of people for its entertainment and is the biggest stadium in Southeast Asia.
It was hosting the match for the first time since 1998, and it has the capacity to hold 120,000.
“Police officials believe there are at least 27 corpses at the scene,” police spokesman Widi Prasetyo was quoted as saying by news agency Antara.
Another report from the Jakarta Globe read that police found some of the dead bodies at 10:50 pm, saying the stadium was about to collapse.
But the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said about 300 supporters of the national team had gathered in the stadium, waiting for the gates to open so they could see the game from the seats.
The disaster occurred a day before the match. The players received a hero’s welcome and fans rushed the pitch with candles and food before the show.
In 2013, thousands of fans died in a stampede that swept through the main square in the Indonesian capital, and officials blamed overcrowding inside the stadia for the disaster.
On Wednesday, the Indonesian Football Federation said it had sent two teams, and security was being stepped up, but the death toll was expected to rise further.
Authorities were investigating the cause behind the stampede at the end of the match between Indonesia and China, who play in the Asian Cup tournament, in the capital Jakarta on Wednesday.
The stadium was empty, with only the yellow and red tarpaul