Rescue workers carry an injured fan from the stands at Turner Field during a game between Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees Saturday. The fan fell from the upper desk onto concrete and has died. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Photo: John Bazemore
Photo: John Bazemore

Fan dies in fall from upper deck at Turner Field

A man who fell off the top deck at least 40 feet to the concrete on the first level below during the Braves’ game against the New York Yankees on Saturday night died, Atlanta police  said.

Police did not identify the man, but said he was in his early 60s and died upon arrival at Grady Memorial Hospital.

"Right now preliminary investigation reveals there is no type of foul play but we need to wait until the medical examiner rules on the cause of death," said Atlanta police lieutenant Charles Hampton, the department's homicide commander. "We’re asking anybody who’s in the area to come forward and let us know what they saw. But we don’t believe it was anything suspicious."

The fall occurred in the top of the seventh inning, as the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez was walking to the plate amid a chorus of boos. The apparently fell off the upper deck, the 400 level of the stadium, behind the home-plate area and landed between the second and third row of seats on the first level in section 202. Fans seated in that area immediately scattered, and paramedics rushed in and did chest compressions, a form of CPR, in an attempt to revive him.

The man eventually was carried out. But there were at least two pools of blood on the concrete where he was lying. Three rows of seats were emptied and a stadium worker with a mop arrived soon after to mop up the blood.

Earlier, Sgt. Greg Lyon with Atlanta police said, “Yes. A fan has fallen and his condition is grave. We are investigating the circumstances of the fall, and I will keep you posted as I learn more.”

Marty Burns of Vernon, Ala., was seated in section 401 near the man who fell.

“When they called A-Rod coming to bat, he got all excited, and his momentum took him over (the railing)," he said.

The area near where the man sat soon was vacant as people reacted to what they saw.

“People started crying right away,” said Donnie Marley of Fayetteville, N.C., who also was seated near the man who fell. “A lot of people left. It was surreal. It was like, ‘did I just see that happen.’”

Greg Shiver of Tennessee, who was attending the game with his son, said, “We were sitting in Row 6 and I just told him to watch for A-Rod. And then we heard a big thud. I saw a guy falling from the top. I grabbed my son and ran for security. He was bleeding pretty badly. I don’t think he’s gonna make it. And I don’t have any clue how he fell.”

After the game, Braves players reacted to the news that a man had fallen.

“Huge condolences go out to that family,” pitcher Matt Wisler said. “You never want to hear something like that. We were all in the dugout paying more attention to that than the game when it first happened. That’s terribly sad to hear. We really hope for the best for that family. That’s sad to see something tragic like that happen at a game.”

This is not the first tragedy at Turner Field. In 2013, a Braves fan, Ronald Lee Homer Jr., 30, of Conyers died Aug. 12 after climbing over a railing and leaping to his death in a parking lot 85 feet below. Homer’s family said the death was accidental but it was ruled a suicide.

Another man fell to his death in 2008. Justin Hayes, 25, of Cumming suffered fell an estimated four levels inside the stadium to field level, striking a concrete and metal railing. He was taken to the hospital but later died of his injuries.

Staff writers Greg Bluestein, Alexis Stevens and Bill Torpy contributed to this article.

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