Tuesday, 13 November 2012

‘I saw the scaffolding collapse’

Sebastian Kerbstadt is still in Somerset Hospital after the Linkin Park concert tragedy. Photo: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Sebastian Kerbstadt, 24, felt a gust of wind before temporary scaffolding crashed down on his leg.

He jumped back and pushed himself against a parked car. He managed to push his left foot under the car before the advertising scaffolding landed on his right leg.

Kerbstadt on Monday described the last minutes before the incident outside the Cape Town Stadium before the Linkin Park concert last Wednesday. He is one of 19 people who were injured when two temporary scaffolding towers collapsed as a result of strong winds.

Concertgoer Florentina Heaven-Popa, 33 of Hout Bay, later died at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

She was buried after a funeral service at the St Anthony’s Church in Hout Bay on Monday.

Speaking from a hospital bed at the New Somerset Hospital, Kerbstadt said he would be pursuing legal action against the City of Cape Town as soon as he was well.

Kerbstadt’s right leg and foot were broken in several places. He is due to undergo surgery on Friday.

A German citizen, Kerbstadt is in the country finishing his food technology studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He will miss some of his exams due to his injuries.

Upon arriving at the stadium, Kerbstadt’s ticket was declared invalid.

A security guard accompanied him to the Computicket truck about 50m away. On the way, they passed the scaffolding.

“I felt the strong wind when I walked past, but I didn’t imagine that it could fall,” Kerbstadt said.

After his ticket was declared valid, the security guard and another concertgoer started walking towards the entrance gates.

“I looked to the left and saw the whole thing coming down. The security guard pushed the woman out of the way. People were screaming and running. It was very hectic for a few seconds… then everything went quiet,” he said.

Kerbstadt didn’t feel the pain at first: “I was more in shock.”

He was declared a “code yellow” by the paramedics, who went around labelling those affected according to the seriousness of their injuries. “There were some people who were bleeding heavily,” he said.

About 10 000 people were in the stadium precinct when the incident happened.

The City of Cape Town announced on Thursday that it would conduct its own investigation of the events that led up to the tragedy.

Kerbstadt said the incident would not deter him from visiting the country and the city in the future.

“It’s sad I didn’t get to see Linkin Park, but I have had a nice and beautiful experience and have made some new friends in the country,” he said.

- Cape Argus

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