Concert victims recall moments of horror

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LP concert victim CAPE TIMES Scaffolding victim Ricardo Hamman, 29, lies in bed at Groote Schuur Hospital as brother Raymond looks on. Hamman has broken ribs and a punctured lung. Picture: COURTNEY AFRICA

Cape Town - Ricardo Hamman remembers taking a free drink from a woman outside the Linkin Park concert in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

When he regained consciousness he was surrounded by paramedics. He had three broken ribs, a punctured lung and broken spinal bones.

He had been struck by a scaffolding tower advertising Lucozade, which left a woman dead and 19 others – including him – injured next to the Cape Town Stadium.

The dead woman was Florentina Heaven Popa, 32. Originally from Romania, she had fallen in love with Cape Town where she settled six years ago.

Hamman, 29, said he had walked up to the scaffolding and taken a free bottle from one of the workers promoting the drink.

“I remember taking a sip and waking up with the paramedics around me.”

The Cape Times visited Hamman at his Groote Schuur hospital bed on Thursday.

The scaffolding had made a “big cut in my head which bled a lot”, Hamman said. He was in a lot of pain, specifically where a drain had been inserted into one of his lungs.

Hamman had noticed the gusting winds on his way to the stadium but thought nothing of it, assuming that any scaffolding would have been securely fastened.

His brother Raymond said they would take legal action and ensure they were compensated.

“I’ve asked who will be recovering the bills.”

Heaven Popa, who died at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on Wednesday night, was the training manager of the One&Only Hotel at the Waterfront.

The hotel said Heaven Popa had been a “highly respected member of the One&Only Cape Town team who will be deeply missed by all her colleagues”.

Swedish resident Edward Molnar met Heaven Popa last month when he and his family visited Cape Town.

He came across her details when researching where to stay.

“She sent us the lengthiest e-mail about Cape Town, how amazing it is, [especially] the people.

“We immediately bonded. She practically booked our trip for us. It was as if we had been friends forever.”

She had met her husband, Leslie Heaven, while they were working on a cruiseship, Molnar said.

“It was love at first sight. She basically immigrated for him. She loved South Africa, she loved Cape Town. She was so happy, she thrived there.

“She had joy of life, positive, fun, someone who didn’t know what pessimism was.”

Molnar said she had lived in Cape Town for about six years.

Heaven, who refused to speak to the Cape Times on Thursday, had let Molnar know what had happened via e-mail.

Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Norris said Heaven Popa had been admitted with head injuries.

“She was treated in the trauma unit. Unfortunately her injuries were too severe. She bled a lot. The best was done.”

Another Groote Schuur patient, Enver Willemburg, 27, said the scaffolding had collapsed on top of him, trapping his legs.

He was walking with his older brother, Valentino, when the scaffolding collapsed.

“It happened before I knew it. I didn’t see it in time. It just collapsed.”

He said his legs were trapped under the scaffolding but paramedics had worked quickly to free him.

He broke his left pelvis, fractured his right pelvis, fractured three bones in his back, and fractured his right leg and ankle.

Willemburg said, “The wind was blowing very hectic.”

He planned to take legal action as he believed the scaffolding had not been properly erected.

Valentino Willemburg said he saw the scaffolding swaying in the wind.

“I saw the structure moving backwards and forwards. I just ducked my head and saw it collapse to the floor. I just saw my brother on the floor.

“I ran to the structure and tried to pull it up. Three guys came and we pulled it up.”

Western Cape Department of Health spokesman Mark van der Heever said six patients had been admitted to Groote Schuur and New Somerset hospitals.

He said they were all stable and had been treated largely for fractured fingers, hands and legs.

One woman was in a serious condition.

“The female has since been transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital for further management of the spine injury she sustained.”

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Cape Times

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