Fans of SF Phish concert share fear as man falls to death at Chase Center – .

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Fans of SF Phish concert share fear as man falls to death at Chase Center – .



Officials at the Chase Center in San Francisco, home of the Golden State Warriors, assure fans the venue is safe after a man died and two people were injured in separate incidents at a Phish concert on Sunday.

While more details on how and why the injuries occurred are still being investigated by the San Francisco Police Department, several accounts of the episodes have been posted on social media by other viewers who suggested that two people fell from the upper levels of the arena about an hour apart. .

On Tuesday, the San Francisco medical examiner identified the man who died in the first incident around 8:55 p.m. as Ryan Prosser, 47, of Athens, NY.

Warriors and Chase Center spokeswoman Kimberly Veale told The Chronicle that officials there were awaiting “findings from the appropriate authorities” to determine what happened before commenting on the incidents.

Police said there was no evidence of foul play.

“Chase Center has been constructed and is operated in accordance with all safety standards and requirements governing such facilities in the State of California and in the City and County of San Francisco,” said Veale.

A concert featuring country music duo Dan + Shay is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by the Warriors’ home opener on Thursday and a two-night stint by the Eagles on Friday and Saturday.

Johnny Greavu had gotten tickets on the top deck for Dead and Co.’s sold-out show at Chase Center on New Years Eve 2019, but left that concert early “because I was so scared of the slope,” he said on Tuesday. . “These guardrails are only waist deep. “

Vowing never to buy Upper Deck tickets at Chase again, he was in Section 116, the lower level, mid-rank, half-court, with seven friends in Phish. It was 8:50 p.m., almost an hour after the start of the first set. The band was playing “Destiny Unbound”.

“We heard a big thud, a big bang,” said Greavu, 29. We thought someone had fallen from a few rows behind us. We were all looking around. Then we look and there is a body in front of us.

The victim had cut off the shoulders of two friends sitting in front of Greavu.

“He fell on seats that were ‘thank goodness unoccupied,’ Greavu said. “He covered at least two and one was broken. I have trouble getting the image out of my head. I think he died instantly because he didn’t move at all.

Someone walked up the stairs to the lobby and came back with two uniformed policemen followed by a medic. The band performed and the light show stayed for the next song. Soon the body was removed and a tarp was placed over the landing spot. Greavu and his seven friends have left Section 116.

“We were walking around during intermission and most people didn’t realize it,” Greavu said. “I debated leaving but ended up staying even though I couldn’t really enjoy the show. “

Dan Fitzsimmons of Kelseyville, who was seated in section 219 of the arena during Sunday’s concert, said he saw a man fall through a “grand opening” in the section.

“The rows are so steep that when it started to fall there was no stopping,” said Fitzsimmons, calling the arena a “death trap”.

He said the barriers designed to protect the public in the upper levels are too low.

“When I first had the arena, my seat was against the security plexiglass,” Fitzsimmons said. “I didn’t feel safe because I’m 6 ′ and the safety glass went under my hip. A bad shot that I could pass on. So we went up one row. Even there I didn’t feel safe dancing as the seats on the downhill barely reach your ankles.

Venue Solutions Group, which helped develop security and engineering at the Chase Center, declined to comment.

Such incidents are rare but do occur, said journalist Don Muret, who has spoken extensively on the construction and operation of arenas and stadiums as editor of trade newspaper VenuesNow.

“Everyone is trying to design the most intimate bowl,” he said, referring to the seating area inside the arena that surrounds the stage. “When you squeeze the bowl you’re going to have this really steep incline, especially in the upper decks. This seems to be the general trend.

In August, a man fell from a balcony to his death during a Dead & Company concert at Citi Field in New York City. Another man was seriously injured after falling from the upper level of the Hollywood Palladium during a Blink-182 concert in 2013.

Closer to home, a San José man accused of domestic violence jumped to death from the rooftop of Saratoga’s Mountain Winery during a Swell Season concert in 2008.

Evan Reeves, a 44-year-old Oakland man who was struck by the victim in the second incident at 9:45 p.m., told KPIX he broke his leg but obtained the consent of the doctor there to finish watching the show. in a wheelchair before being transported to hospital.

A representative of the group Phish, who performed on site Saturday and Sunday, referred requests for comment to Chase Center officials.

Especially when alcohol or other substances are involved, Muret said, it can be difficult for fans to navigate places that are already hard to get around.

“When the lights go out, sometimes you don’t see everything that’s going on,” Muret said. “People are standing, dancing and having a good time. People are looking at their phones. Sometimes they don’t pay attention.

The Mission Bay Arena, which has a listed capacity of 18,064, premiered with great fanfare in September 2019 with a joint concert series featuring Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony. It was only open to the public for about six months before shutting down due to state and local coronavirus warrants.

The Chase Center reopened to the public for the Warriors games in the spring and concerts resumed in September.

Chronicle editors Sam Whiting and Annie Vainshtein contributed to this report.


Aidin Vaziri is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail : [email protected]

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