Ultra Music Festival was marred by a horrific incident last night as a "mob" of people pushed down a gate onto a female security guard.
The guard, Erica Mack, is now fighting for her life at Jackson Memorial Hospital, according to a Miami Fire-Rescue spokesman.
"They saw an opportunity to try to get in without paying," said Lt. Ignatius Carroll. "There must have been a whole lot of people. We found her on the ground, screaming in pain."
The 28-year-old guard works for Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), which touts itself as "the leader in crowd management."
She was manning a walkway near the InterContinental Hotel between 9:30 and 10 p.m. when a crowd of would-be concertgoers apparently decided to force their way through the chain-link fence.
"A mob of people came and started rushing the gate and started pushing it," Carroll says. "She was doing what she was supposed to do -- telling them to stop -- when they pushed it down, and it fell on top of her... They just trampled her."
NO FUCKING MUSIC FESTIVAL IS WORTH TRAMPLING AN INNOCENT WOMAN TRYING TO DO HER JOB. pic.twitter.com/HByrJBo82Z
— •Ivette• (@Ivettelozz_) March 29, 2014
Carroll says the guard sustained "pretty serious head trauma and a broken leg."
"Her condition got worse as we were transporting her," he continued. He dismissed reports that she had died but said she was fighting for her life.
According to a nurse at Jackson, as of 7 p.m. she was still "stable but critical."
According to the Miami Herald, the incident could have been prevented. A law enforcement source told the paper that police warned festival organizers that additional fencing was needed around the area where the guard was trampled two hours before gates opened.
The accident also provides further ammunition to politicians who consider Ultra to be more of a nuisance than a boon to the city. Speaking with the Herald, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said promoters "acted irresponsibly," adding that he doesn't think Ultra should be held at Bayfront Park next year.
The security guard was just one of several hundred people treated by Miami Fire-Rescue last night. Fifty-one of those people sustained serious enough injuries for reports to be filed. Fifteen were transported to the hospital.
"A couple of people overdosed," Carroll said, "and there were some dancing injuries, like leg cuts."
Miami Police reported 22 arrests last night, including 15 felonies, six misdemeanors, and one traffic arrest.
But the trampled security guard was by far the worst incident to mar the music festival since a 20-year-old fatally overdosed last year.
"It's really unfortunate," Carroll said of the security guard. "It just shows the lengths people will go to just get into a concert for free."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.