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Cape Town - Friends and family of the woman who died after being crushed by falling scaffolding at the Linkin Park concert at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night say they are devastated.
Florentina Heaven-Popa, aged 33, was a senior executive at one of the city’s finest hotels, the One & Only at the V&A Waterfront, her grieving husband Leslie Heaven confirmed to the Cape Argus on Thursday.
Heaven said he had been at the concert with his wife, but did not want to say more than: “We will be taking legal action, and thus do not want to comment further.”
Meanwhile, the city of Cape Town has launched an independent investigation into the events leading up to Heaven-Popa’s death, Mayor Patricia de Lille announced on Thursday.
The investigation would be headed by SAPS and a structural engineering firm.
De Lille said the city and event organisers, Big Concerts, would fully co-operate with the investigation.
“I would also like to give the assurance that the city has moved proactively to institute an independent external investigation into the causes of the incident,” she said.
Nineteen people were injured when temporary Lucozade promotional scaffolding collapsed as a result of strong winds before the concert.
Heaven-Popa, of Hout Bay, died of injuries. Twelve people were taken to hospital and two remain in critical condition.
Heaven-Popa worked as training and quality assurance manager at the One&Only, a super-luxury Kerzner International hotel at the V&A Waterfront.
The One&Only Cape Town described Heaven-Popa as a “highly respected member of the One&Only Cape Town team, who will be deeply missed by all her colleagues”.
“Everyone at One&Only Cape Town send their deepest condolences to her family.”
About 10 000 people were in the stadium precinct when the incident happened on Wednesday at about 7pm while people were queuing to enter the stadium bowl.
A spokesperson for UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which manufactures Lucozade, said the branding activation had been erected by a contractor who “fully complied” with the safety specifics as required by the city and the concert organisers.
The spokesperson said the structure had been checked and signed off by concerned parties.
“Our main concern now is with the immediate family of the deceased and the injured. A full investigation is under way and we will co-operate fully with authorities looking into the matter,” she said.
Nicky’s Spotlight’s Promotions, the company that supplied promoters for Lucozade, had about 30 promoters – a mixture of men and woman, between 18 and 28 years old – at the stadium on Wednesday.
The company’s Steven Barker said two of the promoters had been injured in the incident. One was discharged from hospital on Thursday.
Barker said the promoters were standing close to Heaven-Popa when the scaffolding fell on top of her.
“We have arranged for trauma counselling for all of them,” he said.
One of the promoters, Marinique Welsh, 15, of Bothasig, had two broken vertebrae. She is heavily sedated at the Panorama Mediclinic.
Her parents are waiting to see a neuro-surgeon and will be consulting a lawyer on whether or not to pursue legal action.
A mother of another promoter, Jenny Stafford, told the Cape Argus she was appalled at the way promoters were treated, even though they offered them trauma counselling.
US band Linkin Park conveyed their condolences to the family of the woman who died and distanced itself from the “sponsor entity” which erected the structure.
Concert promoters Big Concerts posted a message on its Facebook page expressing its sympathies and condolences to the injured and to the family of woman who died.
“We wish to reiterate how saddened we are about the regrettable accident that occurred outside the Cape Town stadium… We are working closely with the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures in an effort to investigate the accident.”
Linkin Park are scheduled to perform in Joburg on Saturday. Stadium Management SA reassured concertgoers that medical and extra security and safety checks, including SAPS, K9 and Bomb Squad would be in place at the Soccer City complex.
Stadium Management SA’s venues have hosted more than 300 events that have seen more than 4.4 million people passing through its turnstiles.