30 hurt in concert crush at Washington stadium

Injuries occurred while rapper Eminem was performing at HFStival

May 26, 2002|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Some 30 fans were injured, five seriously enough to be taken to area hospitals, when fans rushed a stage during an alternative music festival at RFK Stadium.

One unidentified young victim went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics performed CPR on him and another fan, and the cardiac victim was taken to an area hospital, according to Washington, D.C., fire spokesman Alan Etter

The concert, called HFStival, featured more than two dozen alternative, rock and rap musicians and was sponsored by WHFS, a radio station based in Lanham. The stadium can hold about 50,000 people, and 20,000 to 30,000 fans were present during the incident.

Rap star Eminem was on the stage at about 7:40 p.m. when fans started pushing toward him. He stopped playing at least once and cautioned fans to calm down and stop pushing, witnesses said. But the surging crowd continued to push, crushing some against the stage.

Most of those injured suffered possible broken bones, bruises and abrasions, Etter said.

"There was nowhere we could go; everybody was pushing down, trying to get out," said Justin Kronmeyer, 17, of Hanover, Pa. "People were screaming. There were girls getting trampled. People came from every direction."

One fan complained that Eminem continued to play despite the crush.

The concert was stopped for about 15 or 20 minutes at one point as security personnel and organizers tried to help people leave the stage area. They urged people to lift those who appeared injured and transport them hand-to-hand above the crowd away from the crush.

"I saw somebody who looked half dead go past," said Eric Lewis, 20, of Silver Spring.

The concert resumed after the incident and is expected to continue today.

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