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As Phish Played, One Man Fell, Then Another

One person is dead, 2 seriously injured in separate falls at San Francisco concert
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2021 7:43 AM CDT
2 Falls, One Death at Phish Concert in San Francisco
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/nd3000)

(Newser) – A Phish concert in California took a grim turn over the weekend after two separate falls led to one death and two serious injuries. A spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department tells KPIX that cops received a call around 9pm of a person needing medical assistance at the Chase Center, where the band was performing. When they arrived on the scene, a man was injured, apparently from a fall, but despite emergency responders' efforts, the man died. Police say that while an investigation continues, there's so far no evidence of foul play.

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About 45 minutes later, cops got a second call, this time in another part of the arena, where one man had fallen onto another man in a section below. "He clearly missed a step and wasn't holding onto that handrail and just kept going," a witness says. KTVU reports that both men were taken to a local hospital; the man who fell had serious but non-life-threatening injuries, while the man who got hit was hospitalized with serious injuries. Police say there didn't appear to be any "criminal violation" involved with this second fall.

Robert Moen of Texas witnessed both incidents, telling the outlet that the man who died in the first fall appeared to have intentionally jumped. "We saw him right when he put his feet on the barrier, stood up, and just leapt," he says, adding it was "a huge drop, maybe four stories or so." Moen notes that he and his wife, shaken by what they'd witnessed, moved to another part of the stadium, "far away to try to recenter ourselves," when they saw the second person fall, though Moen adds that fall appeared to be accidental. By that point, he and his wife decided to leave.

Attendees tell KPIX that some of the guardrails in the arena aren't high enough to keep someone from tumbling over. "They weren't really designed for an event where everyone is up and dancing and there's a whole lot of drug use," one concertgoer notes. In a statement, Chase Center said "we are working with the local authorities to determine exactly what happened," noting all inquiries should be directed to the San Francisco Police Department. SFGate notes that as of Monday afternoon, Phish hadn't commented on either incident. (Read more Phish stories.)

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