Indonesian soccer fan recalls sting of tear gas before crush

Oct 2, 2022, 3:08 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2022, 5:00 am
People looking for their family members inspect photographs of a soccer match stampede victims prov...

People looking for their family members inspect photographs of a soccer match stampede victims provided by volunteers to help them identify their relatives in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left over 100 people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to prevent violence. (AP Photo/Dicky Bisinglasi)

(AP Photo/Dicky Bisinglasi)

              People looking for their family members inspect photographs of a soccer match stampede victims provided by volunteers to help them identify their relatives in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left over 100 people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to prevent violence. (AP Photo/Dicky Bisinglasi)
            
              Relatives stand nearby as survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              People looking for their family members inspect photographs of a soccer match stampede victims provided by volunteers to help them identify their relatives in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left over 100 people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to prevent violence. (AP Photo/Dicky Bisinglasi)
            
              Relatives stand nearby as survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Relatives stand nearby as survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Survivors of Saturday's deadly crush are treated at a hospital in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Monday Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Soccer club Arema FC players and officials pray for the victims of Saturday's deadly crush outside Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              Muhammad Ali Rifky ,center, Manager club of Arema FC reacts after praying for the fans who lost their lives in a stampede Saturday night outside the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Police firing tear gas at Saturday night's match between host Arema FC of East Java's Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits, leaving a large number of people dead, most of them trampled upon or suffocated. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
            
              A supporter soccer club Arema FC prays for victims of Saturday's soccer match stampede inside the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left over 100 people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to stop the violence. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Dicky Kurniawan felt the sharp sting in his eyes as Indonesian police fired tear gas into the football stadium.

From his seat near an exit, he said he watched the melee unfold Saturday night as angry fans poured into the field to demand answers after host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city lost to Persebaya Surabaya, its first defeat ever on its home turf. The mob threw bottles and other objects, and the violence spread outside the stadium, where police cars were overturned and torched.

Kurniawan, 22, was shocked when police fired tear gas at spectators in the stands. As the stinging gas spread through the stadium, Kurniawan grabbed his girlfriend and — like everyone else — dashed to the exits.

The mass rush led to a stampede that killed nearly three dozen people almost instantly. The death toll reached 125 and hundreds more were injured in one of the world’s deadliest tragedies at a sporting event. More than 40,000 spectators were at the match, all Arema fans because the organizer had banned Persebaya Surabaya supporters due to Indonesia’s history of violent soccer rivalries.

“The chaos was on the field, but they fired the tear gas into the stadium stands,” Kurniawan said as he described the tragedy from his hospital bed. He received bruises on his face but said he was fortunate to survive.

“Now I am done watching soccer in the stadium,” Kurniawan said.

In the bed next to Kurniawan, teenager Farel Panji also had a lucky escape.

Panji, 16, had just left his seat to go to the exit when the tear gas came. As people ran past him to get to the exit, Panji said he got pushed down by the crowd and collapsed.

“I fainted for a while. When I woke up, I was still in the stadium seating area,” Panji said. He got home safely and was taken to the hospital the next day. Wearing an Arema jersey, Panji said Saturday’s incident did not stop him from loving the club.

Malang’s Dr. Saiful Anwar General Hospital, one of several used to treat victims, was filled Sunday with grieving relatives waiting to identify bodies in the morgue or for information about their loves ones.

Police say 323 people were injured in the crush, with some still in critical condition. At least 17 children were among the dead and seven other children are being treated at hospitals, according to the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection.

Arema’s Chilean coach, Javier Roca, led the players and other officials in paying respect to the dead in a ceremony Monday.

Wearing black shirts, the team gathered at the statue of a lion head outside Kanjuruhan Stadium. Dozens of Arema supporters also attended, and started to cry when the players poured rose petals around the statue and prayed together.

“We came here as a team, asking forgiveness from the families impacted by this tragedy, those who lost their loves ones or the ones who are still being treated in the hospital,” Roca said.

He said soccer violence must stop.

“We feel like we got a punishment,” he said. “One match result is not worth paying with the lives of people, let alone more than 100 people.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Brazil's Neymar, lies on the pitch as he receives first aid during the World Cup group G soccer mat...
Associated Press

Brazil with plenty of options to replace Neymar at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — With Neymar out for at least another match, Brazil coach Tite must now start thinking about a replacement – and this time he has plenty of options. Brazil is not as Neymar-dependent as it used to be, and Tite could go several different ways to replace the Paris Saint-Germain forward for […]
1 day ago
Australia's Mitchell Duke celebrates after he scored the opening goal during the World Cup group D ...
Associated Press

Australia beats Tunisia 1-0 to revive its World Cup campaign

AL WAKRAH, Qatar (AP) — Australia only needed to avoid defeat to stay in the World Cup. The Socceroos did more than that in a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Saturday. Mitchell Duke gave Australia the lead midway through the first half with a header and Australia went on to register its first win at […]
1 day ago
Al Gharafa Park is viewed in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. Qatar unveiled a plan last Octob...
Associated Press

Energy-rich Qatar faces fast-rising climate risks at home

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — At a suburban park near Doha, the capital city of Qatar, cool air from vents in the ground blasted joggers on a November day that reached almost 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). The small park with air-conditioned paths is an apt illustration of World Cup host Qatar’s answers, so […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Fire sends smoke over Doha skyline during World Cup in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatari authorities say a fire broke out Saturday at an under-construction building in a newly built city where a World Cup match was set to be played later in the evening, but caused no injuries. Qatar’s Interior Ministry said the fire started just after noon local time on an island that’s […]
1 day ago
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and C...
Associated Press

De Bruyne, Belgium need 2nd chance to impress at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne knew he didn’t play well in his team’s opening World Cup game. He said as much when he accepted the man of the match award. “I don’t know why I got the trophy,” De Bruyne said. “Maybe it’s because of my name.” With De Bruyne looking […]
1 day ago
Players warm up during Japan official training on the eve of the group E of World Cup soccer match ...
Associated Press

Japan aims for World Cup knockout stage against Costa Rica

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — How big was Japan’s 2-1 upset of Germany in the opening round of the World Cup? Newspapers in Japan used the term “Daikimboshi” from sumo wrestling to describe the magnitude of the surprise: when a low-ranked wrestler overpowers a grand champion. The victory has also been compared to Japan’s 34-32 upset […]
1 day ago
Indonesian soccer fan recalls sting of tear gas before crush