Tragedy struck at Madrid, Spain’s Mad Cool Festival on Friday night when an acrobat plunged over 100 feet to his death in front of thousands prior to Green Day‘s headlining set. The acrobat, Pedro Aunión Monroy, was performing an aerial stunt from inside a box that was suspended from a crane at the time of the accident, the Independent reports. Although it appeared Monroy was wearing a harness, he fell to the ground in front of thousands of stunned attendees. Medics rushed to the scene, but Monroy died soon after from injuries sustained in the fall. He was 42.
Video of the acrobat’s fall can be seen below via YouTube user one n only, but be warned, the content is disturbing:
After only a slight delay, Green Day’s set continued as scheduled. According to the band, they weren’t notified of Monroy’s death until after their performance. However, despite their condolences, many fans accused both them and the festival organizers of insensitivity surrounding the disturbing events that preceded their set.
In a statement, Mad Cool organizers defended their decision to continue on despite the crowd witnessing a deadly accident: “Mad Cool Festival regrets the terrible accident that the aerial dancer suffered during the second day of the festival. For security reasons, the festival decided to continue with its programming. We send our most sincere condolences to all his family. Tomorrow Saturday 8, during the festival, we will render a heartfelt tribute to the artist.”
Today, Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong issued an official statement on the situation in Stereogum:
Last night at the Mad Cool festival in Spain there was a horrific accident. An acrobat by the name of Pedro was killed during his performance before Green Day played our show. We are so sad for Pedro and his family and we pray for them in this time of grief. I can’t imagine how much suffering the friends and family are going through. Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident.
Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over. We didn’t even know there was an acrobat performance at all. these festivals are huge. There are so many things happening at the same time it’s impossible to keep up with every performer/artist.. We were in a back stage compound about a half mile away from the main festival stage. We were warming up ready to go at 11:25 pm. 15 minutes prior our tour management was told by local authorities to wait to go on stage because there was some sort of security issue.
Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show.. we were NOT told why which is also normal. We waited as we were instructed. Still, We had no clue there was any such accident. We were given the ok. The band jumped into vans and drove to the main festival stage. This was to be the last show of our European tour and we were all so excited to play our hearts out one last time. We were on stage at around midnight and played around two and a half hours. Everything seemed normal. the crowd and fans had a good time.
We got off stage and drove back to our artist compound. It was there when we were told the shocking news about Pedro. All of us were in disbelief. I don’t know why the authorities chose not to tell us about the accident before our concert. All we know is what was said after our concert. This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live. If we had known prior to our performance we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people. The safety and well being at any of our concerts absolutely comes first. What happened to Pedro is unthinkable. Once again we are heartbroken for his friends and family.
We are also shocked and heartbroken for anyone that had to witness this tragedy.”
You can read Mad Cool Festival’s full statement on the accident here.
[h/t Rolling Stone]