The chilling testimonies of the survivors of the tragedy in Indonesia: “People pushed each other until they could not move”

The match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended in one of the worst tragedies in sports history

This Saturday Indonesia experienced the worst sports tragedy in its history and while the international press echoes the news and the authorities seek to find an explanation for the chaos that caused the death of 125 people, according to official information updated this Sunday, testimonies of dozens have been known of survivors.

It is that more than 40 thousand people witnessed the game in the kanjuruhan stadium and witnessed an unprecedented event in the Asian country. According to the Police, there were about 3,000 spectators who jumped onto the playing field after the defeat of the Arema FC 2-3 in the classic before Persebaya and, immediately, the security agents responded with tear gas.

This caused a stampede not only on the field of play but also in the stands that ended the lives of many of those present who ended up suffocated or crushed in the bullfights caused in the stands. It is that, according to several testimonies, the police threw gas into the stands and that caused thousands of fans to flee towards the doors, causing a fatal funnel for dozens of them.

The coach of AremaJavier Roca, gave an interview this Sunday to the newspaper El País in which he gave details of what he experienced in the stadium: “When I returned from the press conference I found chaos, with boys carrying the victims in their arms or towards our locker room. There were also a lot of people in the stands with breathing problems because of the tear gas.” And he added: “The confrontation has been with the police. The stadium was not prepared for this chaos. There were 48,000 people and there began to be avalanches. Maybe the capacity could have been reduced, but you never think you are going to go to a football match and almost 200 people are going to die”.

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The Chilean technician who has been working in Indonesia for almost 20 years explained that the overflow was total: “All the health services were collapsed. It is a stadium removed from the city center and the ambulances were slow to arrive. The city is small and does not have the capacity to need 100 or 200 ambulances from one moment to the next.”.

Soccer fans attend a vigil in the Gelora Bung Karno stadium area, following riots after the soccer match between Arema and Persebaya, in Jakarta (Reuters)
Soccer fans attend a vigil in the Gelora Bung Karno stadium area, following riots after the soccer match between Arema and Persebaya, in Jakarta (Reuters)

The local news site Compass was able to chat with some survivors. Riyan Dwi Cahyono, 22, commented that he was about to step onto the pitch: “The goal was just to protest so that Arema FC can be even better in the future.” But at that moment the gases began: “I was defenseless. In fact, my friend who was with me from Blitar was missing and I didn’t know her current status until a moment ago,” she explained, saying that she was the victim of a stampede that caused fractures in her left leg while her friend had head injuries. .

“We are disappointed with the treatment of the security agents. Also we were beaten, kicked by the agents, until our friends lost their lives“, held.

Tofan Zulkarnain, another of those who was in the stands, also told what he saw. “I didn’t jump onto the field, but they fired tear gas.” Given this, he began to run towards the exit like the thousands of those present: “At that moment I saw that there was another victim, a small child right next to me. Looks like the little boy survived. He was really short of breath from the gas.”

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All the testimonies agree that the worst began when the police fired gas at the gallery, where, judging by the viralized images, there were no incidents: “At first, the tear gas was first on the field. They then fired into the stands at gate 12, I was with others at gate 14, the tear gas was pushed by the wind, so it spread,” explained Zulkarnain, who was able to escape with his 10-year-old son and his neighbor: “My son helped open the railing of the steps”.

Firari Vilallah, 22, also managed to get out of the stadium alive with his younger brother: “There was tear gas everywhere, so supporters managed to escape in panic. and hePeople were pushing each other to the point where many couldn’t move.”

In the chaos, she lost sight of her friend Evi Syaila, 18, whom she found on the ground outside the stadium. Seeing that she had no serious injuries, she took her to her house, but this Sunday she had to go to the hospital urgently because the girl had difficulty breathing and abdominal pain, as a result of the footprints she suffered.

“I will never see another game in a stadium again. Because it is especially insecure, ”he sentenced.


Tragedy in Indonesia: the Police confirmed 125 dead due to the riots in the soccer classic
The position of the Police after the tragedy: “If they had obeyed the rules, this would not have happened”
Gianni Infantino’s message: “It was a black day for all those who love football”
The crude account of a footballer who witnessed the tragedy in Indonesia: “Some fans entered the locker room and died there”
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