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Indonesian police say that the gates at the soccer stadium where police fired tear gas and set off a deadly crush were too small and could only accommodate two people at a time when hundreds were trying to escape.

Photos from the Malang stadium where 125 people died and hundreds were injured on Saturday night in one of the sporting events worst disasters, showed four connecting doors forming one gate.

Police said the investigation was focused on six of the 14 gates where most of the spectators died in the crush.

Police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said they were unlocked but only able to accommodate two people.

“For those six gates, they were not closed but they were too small,” Mr Prasetyo told reporters.

READ ALSO Indonesia probes elite officers over stadium disaster

“They had a capacity for two people but there were hundreds coming out. There was a crush there.”

He added that the gates were the responsibility of the organisers.

On Monday, police announced they had removed one police chief and nine elite officers, and 18 others were being investigated for responsibility in the firing of tear gas inside the stadium.

The club was also fined 250 million rupiah ($25,200), Erwin Tobing, the head of the association’s discipline committee, told a news conference.

During the closing stages of the soccer derby in Indonesia’s East Java province, 29-year-old spectator Ahmad Nizar Habibi said he had a gut feeling things were about to turn ugly.

“I wanted to leave, but suddenly I heard explosions,” he said, describing rounds of tear gas fired as Saturday’s night-time match ended and fans invaded the field, angered by the home team’s loss.

“We couldn’t see. Fans were screaming and we couldn’t breathe.”

The chaos that erupted in the soccer-mad South-East Asian nation resulted in 125 deaths, including the loss of at least 33 children, and more than 400 people were injured, plunging a sleepy town on the main island of Java into shock and mourning.

Prior to this incident, 86 people have died in Indonesia in soccer-related violence since 1995

 

 

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