One person died and two more were injured in separate incidents during the Phish concert at Chase Center in San Francisco, CA on Sunday.
Officers initially responded to several calls at 8:55 p.m., during the band’s first of two sets, about a person in need of medical attention at the arena. As a San Francisco Police Department spokesperson said of the first incident, “Medics arrived and immediately provided medical treatment, but despite the efforts of the emergency responders the victim succumbed to his injuries and was declared deceased. At this time we have found no evidence of foul play for this incident.”
Reports of the incident played out in real-time on social media as details trickled in. Per multiple accounts, the man who died, identified by KPIX 5 as 47-year-old Athens, NY resident Ryan Prosser, appeared to jump from section 221 and land in section 116, breaking a seat on impact.
Robert Moen of Austin, Texas, who was seated behind Mr. Prosser and partially saw the incident unfold, told KTVU that he saw some of what happened. “We were a couple rows behind the first guy that jumped intentionally and we saw him right when he put his feet on the barrier, stood up and just leapt,” explained Moen. “He went out of view and I realized later, that was a huge drop, maybe four stories or so.”
As one witness, Richard Langston, told KPIX 5, “We felt this thud, it was a remarkable thud. One of my friends said, ‘Is it an earthquake?’ And the other guy said, ‘I think someone fell.'”
Various witnesses have reported on social media that venue staff quickly cleared the section and covered the seats as they cleaned up the blood from the area.
As one Reddit user who saw the incident noted, “The man that fell and died landed on a chair right next to my buddy. He shoulder brushed my buddy’s shoulder as he fell. … The sound of his body hitting the chair is one I will never forget. I am trained in CPR and first aid, so I went to try and assist, but it was clear he was no longer alive. The amount of blood pouring out of his head and mouth were beyond anything I have ever seen.”
Less than one hour later, at 9:45pm, officers and medics responded to another report of a man falling from the balcony level of the venue. Per KQED, “That man, and a second man he landed on, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”
Various witness reports on social media have noted that the second man, whose fall appeared to be unintentional, fell a shorter distance than the first man, causing him to land in the mid-level boxes rather than the 100-level seats.
[UPDATE 10/19/21, 5:00 p.m. ET]: One of the men who was injured during the second incident spoke with KPIX 5 on Tuesday about his experience. Evan Reeves, who was hit by the second man to fall from the balcony, explained that he was waiting for the band’s second set to begin around 9:45 p.m. PT when a man fell from section 213 and landed on him.
Noted Reeves, a 44-year-old Oakland, CA resident, “Right inside portal 50, between sections 213 and 214, there’s a flat foyer area with one row of folding ADA seats at the very front. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor right behind those seats waiting for the second set to start [when it happened].”
Reeves said he had been assigned a seat in the top of section 217 but had moved down to this spot because he “didn’t feel safe dancing there. … When I met my friend at my assigned seat, we were commenting to each other how low and dangerous the wall is.”
Related: Chase Center Passes Additional Code Inspection Following Death, Injuries At Phish Concert
When the man fell on him from above, Reeves explained, “It was a loud thud, then sharp pain in my left leg and a guy’s head in my lap. I right away dragged myself a few feet away to get some distance so he could be treated. … I knew immediately what had happened, because as an usher in the music scene, I had already heard many stories of people falling from balconies over the years.”
Reeves suffered a broken leg in the incident but, embodying Phish fandom in a nutshell, didn’t go to the hospital until after the show. “My first thought, after hoping the guy’s OK, was hoping I wouldn’t have to miss the second set,” he told KPIX 5. “With the on-site doctor’s consent, I convinced them to wheel me back in for the last 40 minutes while I waited for my wife to pick me up to take me to an Oakland hospital.”
As a spokesperson from the Chase Center confirmed in a statement to The Mercury News, “Two guests attending last night’s concert were seriously injured. The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Officer has informed us that, sadly, one of the individuals has passed away. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the guest’s loved ones. We are working with the local authorities to determine exactly what happened.”
In the days since, the Phish fan community has turned toward helping each other cope with the trauma of witnessing the disturbing incidents.
I’m a somatic trauma therapist and was at the show last night on the floor— if anyone who witnessed the events in 221/116 want some space held for processing/integrating that trauma, please dm me. Free sessions, pham. #phish
— Rebecca (@STUUUDA) October 18, 2021
We were in section 116 last night when it happened but it was behind us. My heart goes out to the folks behind us who experienced it and to the family and friends of the victim. Our freaks flags fly at half-staff today. I love you all so much, please be extra kind to yourself 💗
— Elisa Allechant (@ElisaAllechant) October 18, 2021
Below, you can watch a pair of local San Francisco news broadcasts featuring more information and witness accounts of the fatal fall at Sunday’s Phish show at Chase Center.
Our thoughts are with anyone and everyone affected. Please be careful out there and keep an eye on each other. We want to see you all again next time, happy and healthy.
KRON 4 News Report On Falls During Phish Show At Chase Center
KTVU 2 News Report On Falls During Phish Show At Chase Center
Phish fall tour 2021 continues this week with a pair of shows in Eugene, OR. For a full list of upcoming tour dates, click here.
[UPDATE 10/20/21, 1:00 a.m. ET]: Trey Anastasio took a moment during the band’s show in Eugene, OR on Tuesday night to address the Phish community in the wake of the incidents at the San Francisco show.
“I don’t know if I can express how much we feel a part of this group of people who are here tonight and every night,” said a visibly emotional Anastasio, “and the people who can’t be here, watching on TV. We very much know and feel that we’re just four more people in this group who happen to be up here and you guys are standing there, but when something like this happens, it hurts us very deeply, and we want to send our love. Please be safe, and everybody have a great time.” Watch Trey’s acknowledgement of the incidents in San Francisco below.
Trey Anastasio Addresses Phish Community In Eugene – 10/19/21