One dead, two injured in falls during Phish concert at San Francisco’s Chase Center
A fan of the jam band Phish plunged to his death, and two other concertgoers were injured in a separate fall at the Chase Center in San Francisco over the weekend.
Ryan Prosser, 47, of Athens, N.Y., died Sunday after falling from an upper deck and landing atop empty seats below, and authorities say evidence suggests he may have jumped.
Concertgoers alerted authorities around 8:55 p.m., during the band’s first set, that a person was in need of medical assistance after a fall, San Francisco police officials said.
“We felt this thud. It was a remarkable thud,” one concertgoer told KPIX 5. “One of my friends said, ‘Is it an earthquake?’ And the other guy said, ‘I think someone fell.’ I saw a man’s body shirtless draped over a seat.”
Officers who arrived at the scene worked to revive the man, but he was declared dead, San Francisco police public information officer Robert Reuca said.
Police have found no evidence of foul play in Prosser’s death, and the San Francisco Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office is investigating, authorities said.
“The investigation has evidence to believe the victim leapt from an elevated area of the arena, causing him to fall a significant distance, which caused his injuries,” Reuca said. “Immediately before the victim leapt, he did not appear to have any physical contact with any person.”
Kimberly Veale, a spokesperson for Chase Arena, said in a statement that arena officials were working with local authorities to determine what happened.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the guest’s loved ones,” she said.
About an hour after the first fall, at 9:45 p.m., officers were alerted about another incident in which a man had fallen from a different upper-level section and landed on a concertgoer below. Both were taken to a hospital and treated for their injuries, authorities said.
Evan Reeves, 44, of Oakland, was struck when a man who was not identified fell on top of him, KPIX reported.
“It was a loud thud, then sharp pain in my left leg and a guy’s head in my lap,” Reeves told the outlet. “I right away dragged myself a few feet away to get some distance so he could be treated.”
Reeves said the venue consented to allow him to stay for the remainder of the concert before being taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a broken leg.
He told reporters he was originally seated in the second row of the upper deck but had moved downstairs “because I didn’t feel safe dancing there.” He said was concerned about the low plastic barriers in the upper sections.
Concertgoers who witnessed the falls took to social media to describe what they’d seen. Twitter user Bobby Moen said in a post he was sitting in one of the top rows behind Possner when he saw him fall. After moving to a different section, Moen later saw the second man fall.
“We are shaken up, heading home early,” he tweeted.
Rebecca Studer, an occupational therapist from Oakland, was at the concert but did not see the falls. However, she posted on social media an offer of 30-minute phone calls or Zoom sessions to help anyone who witnessed the events.
Studer said Tuesday that she had spoken to about a dozen people.
“Most of what folks are reporting is around the repetitive experiences of the noise of the landing, the gore/scene of the image of him over the seat where he landed, paramedics attending to him, and the impulse to help but without a real ability to do so,” she said.
Studer, who has been an occupational therapist for five years, said people who experience shock trauma or horror often have intrusive thoughts or replays of the event. “It is really important in the short term to be able to find some resourcing and social connection,” she said.
As of Wednesday, the band Phish had not made any official statements about either of the falls.
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