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Fan dies after falling from upper deck during Yankees-Braves game

People clean a section of the lower seating

People clean a section of the lower seating area at Turner Field where a fan fell from the upper deck during a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Atlanta. The fan was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital, authorities said Photo Credit: AP

ATLANTA - A horrifying scene played out in the seventh inning of Saturday night's Yankees-Braves game when a fan fell from the upper deck at Turner Field and onto a sea of fans, plastic seats and cement at least 50 feet below. He later died at a local hospital.

Emergency personnel were seen aggressively performing CPR on the man, who fell in the aisle next to a section that contained about 45 family members of assorted Yankees players.

After about 10 minutes, the man was removed on a stretcher and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died. A large pool of blood was visible where he had been.

Lt. Charles Hampton of the Atlanta Police Department homicide unit said the man was in his early 60s. There was no immediate word on his identity pending notification of his next of kin.

"It's just a sickening feeling, it's devastating," said Brian McCann, whose mother was seated in Section 202, one section over from where the man fell in Section 201. "Everyone was looking up there. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family."

The fan fell immediately after Alex Rodriguez was introduced as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. The man apparently hit the support wiring, which shook violently, as he fell from Section 401 to Section 201 behind home plate. Shocked fans in the lower bowl began yelling and waving for emergency personnel, who quickly arrived. There was no delay in the game as medical personnel treated the fan. Hampton said police don't suspect foul play at this point. He said no fans were hurt in the lower-level seats where the man fell.

Adam Staudacher and his girlfriend were returning to their seats near where the fan fell. Staudacher, 33, from Virginia Highlands, Georgia, said it appeared the fan landed headfirst on a 3-foot-wide walkway between sections. He estimated 20 EMTs immediately surrounded the fan and began doing CPR, adding that they treated him for "five to seven minutes" before taking him away.

Staudacher said he saw no movement from the fan.

"There were a ton of kids right there," he said. "It was a disturbing scene. Disturbing doesn't really go far enough."

Staudacher said Braves representatives came around in the eighth inning to check on fans and offered them seats in suites, away from where the fan fell.

Some Braves family members were escorted to a room near the team's clubhouse. Many, including Atlanta outfielder Cameron Maybin's son, were crying. "None of our family guys got hurt other than there were some young children there that got to see stuff that's not real nice," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

"That's terrible," Braves pitcher Matt Wisler said. "You never want to hear something like that. We're all in the dugout paying more attention to that than we were the game when it first happened."

Yankees coach Joe Espada didn't see the entire fall, but he saw enough of it. "I just kind of saw a male figure and that was it," he said. "Scary stuff."

Word quickly spread on the Yankees' bench, and in the clubhouse after the game, players inquired about the man's condition. Just after 11 p.m., after the clubhouse had closed and players had left the stadium, police said the man had died.

"Most of us just saw the net shaking," said Andrew Miller, speaking before that news broke. "It's just a bad situation. Hopefully everything turns out all right. Thinking about and praying for him. Just a terrible situation."

Said Joe Girardi: "That's really sad something like that can happen at the ballpark. Our prayers go out to the family. It's really sad."

With The Associated Press


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