Linkin Park victim ‘still flat on her back’

Western Cape

Cape Town - Wednesday marks 21 days since the Lucozade advertising scaffolding collapsed at the Cape Town Stadium shortly before the Linkin Park rock concert. The incident killed 33-year-old Florentina Heaven-Popa and injured 19 others.

Martinique Welch, 16, was left with two fractured vertebrae. On the day of the concert, Martinique was working for a promotions company, Nicky’s Spotlight’s Promotions, handing out samples of the energy drink.

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Cape Town 121127- Martinuque Welsh  who was involved in Linkin Park accident takes a walk with her parents   Alison and Roger Welsh. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter ArgusCape Town 121127- Martinuque Welsh  who was involved in Linkin Park accident takes is recovering from Home. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Argus

She saw the scaffolding coming towards her before it hit her on the head on November 7, shortly before the concert began.

When the Cape Argus visited her at her Bothasig home on Tuesday, she was lying on a bed in the living room. Next to her was her “comfort”, a stuffed brown and white monkey she’s named Linkin. She has to wear a back brace to stabilise her spine for at least the next three months. Her life as a netball enthusiast and a member of the first girls’ soccer team at Edgemead High School is on hold for now.

Last Thursday, she underwent a three-hour operation at Panorama MediClinic. On Tuesday she told the Cape Argus she was still in a lot of pain and taking strong pain-killers three times a day.

“It sucks that I have missed my exams that I have studied so hard for,” said Martinique, who is in Grade 10.

“The hardest part is not being able to do sports. I miss hanging out with my friends and boyfriend.”

Martinique said her friends and her school had been very supportive by showering her with get-well gifts and visiting her regularly. She said she still had flashbacks to the ordeal.

About 10 000 people were in the stadium precinct when the incident happened. Afterwards, the city announced that it would conduct its own investigation into the events that led to the tragedy.

City spokeswoman Kylie Hatton said on Tuesday that the investigation was still under way.

Martinique’s father, Roger Welch, 49, said the entire ordeal had been a “shock to the family” and had caused “immense stress”.

Welch said the family would take legal action against whoever was liable once they learnt the outcome of the city’s investigation.

Martinique has to stay on her back; she can’t sit or bend.

Her mother Alison said: “I am angry that no one, from the organisers to the city, has picked up the phone to find out how my child is doing. They sent her flowers at the hospital… the flowers are dead now, but my child is still flat on her back.”

Martinique’s father said they were positive that she would make a full recovery: “It could’ve been worse. Doctors told us she came close to being paralysed… she’s one lucky lady.”

Apart from physiotherapy at the hospital, Martinique walks around her neighbourhood for at least 10 minutes every day.

Hatton said the city would ensure that all necessary safety procedures were adhered to for the Lady Gaga concert at the Cape Town Stadium on Monday.

Cape Argus

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