THE HEAVY METAL rock band AC-DC continued playing while three fans were being crushed to death, despite chants of "stop the concert," witnesses said yesterday.
Two 14-year-old boys and a 19-year-old woman died and the woman's college roommate was injured after thousands of fans rushed the stage when the band began the concert Friday night at Salt Palace arena in Salt Lake City.
Police turned the investigation over to Salt Lake County after determining no crimes had been committed. County officials met yesterday with executives from Spectacor Management Group, the Philadelphia-based company that operates the concert hall, to begin an investigation.
Mark Gorlick, a promoter for Atco Records, AC-DC's Los Angeles-based label, said yesterday the band refused to comment.
Witnesses said at least one security guard tried to get the band to stop playing when the crowd began to surge forward.
"He was frantic, trying to get the lead singer's attention," said Gertrud Scheffler, 39. "He was making motions across his neck, like to cut. You could see he was desperate."
All concert tickets were general admission. Concert-goers were not assigned seats.
Killed in the crush were Curtis Child of Logan and Jimmy Boyd of Salt Lake City. Boyd was dead on arrival at a hospital. Child died Sunday without regaining consciousness.
An autopsy showed Boyd died of "compression asphyxiation;" autopsy results on the other youth weren't available because yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Elizabeth Glausi, a 19-year-old student at Brigham Young University, was brain dead and kept on life-support equipment through the weekend. She died yesterday when life support was shut off at her family's request, said Marcie McCleary, spokeswoman for Holy Cross Hospital.
Scott Neil, a friend of Child's, said he saw Child fall under a wave of people during the band's first song.
"It was chaotic. It was hell ... people were screaming," said Neil, 17.
"After they started another song, people started chanting, 'Stop the concert, stop the concert,' until it echoed, but they wouldn't," he said. "When they started another song, I didn't think I was going to make it."
Glausi's roommate, Brandi Leigh Burton, 19, suffered bruises and abrasions.
"I turned my head and I saw Elizabeth Glausi and I said I couldn't breathe and so did she. We both tried to lift our heads to get air but there wasn't any air to breathe," Burton said. "I said to myself DTC over and over, 'Please God, don't let us die,' and then I blacked out."
The crowd of 13,294 was 626 under maximum capacity, Spectacor said Saturday in a statement.
County spokeswoman Alisa Spilman said the concert was staffed by 197 security people, including three Salt Lake City police officers and four Salt Lake County fire marshals.
Police Detective Jerry Mendez said he believes the band "had to know" there was a problem.
"They had to lift the bodies up over the crowd to get them (the victims) to help," Mendez said. "If you're in the band, I don't think you could help but notice that."
Matt Brown, Spectacor's senior vice president for operations, said he wouldn't comment on security measures before the investigation is completed.
The band left Salt Lake City for a Wednesday night concert in Denver. Police investigators didn't interview members of the band.
Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom wouldn't comment.