Examiner confirms fallen fan's death

Updated: August 31, 2012, 8:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Authorities have identified the 25-year-old fan who died after falling from a fifth-floor escalator while attending a preseasonHouston Texans game at Reliant Stadium on Thursday night.

The Harris County medical examiner's office identified the man late Friday as Jonathon Kelly of Houston. No other details were immediately provided.

Kelly died after tumbling about 60 feet. Frantic witnesses called police to report where his body had landed, police spokesman John Cannon said earlier Friday.

The fall appeared to be an accident, police said.

The man was traveling down from the fifth floor when he fell to the ground, said Mark Miller, the general manager of SMG-Reliant Park. Two medical teams working at the stadium treated the man at the scene before he was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he died, he said.

Staffers monitor fan safety at each escalator landing, Miller said.

"We make sure they're not overloaded and we try to operate them in the safest possible manner," Miller said.

According to the Houston Chronicle, authorities said the victim was trying to slide down the outside of the escalator's handrail when he fell.

The bank of escalators in the northeast corner of the stadium where the fall occurred has been closed for inspections and Reliant Park officials are reassessing safety procedures, he said. But Texans' president Jamey Rootes indicated that security and safety changes were unlikely because of the fatal fall.

"We have our procedures in place, the league has a whole comprehensive set of best practices relative to fan behavior and stadium security," Rootes said. "We've always been rated at the very highest level ... I don't know that anything changes."

The Texans open the regular season Sept. 9 with a home game against the Miami Dolphins.

The fall wasn't the only fatal incident at a Texas sport venue in recent years. In 2011, a firefighter attending a Texas Rangers game in Arlington died when he fell from the left- field stands while reaching for a baseball tossed his way by All-Star outfielder Jos Hamilton.

Shannon Stone fell about 20 feet onto concrete when he tumbled over the left-field railing after catching the ball and falling into an area out of sight from the field as the Rangers faced Oakland. Cooper Stone, his 9-year-old son, witnessed the fall during the second inning.

In April, a statue of Stone and his son was dedicated to Rangers fans in front of the home-plate gate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Railings also were raised throughout the ballpark before this season.

In April 2008, a fan named Antonio Nararainsami fell to his death over that rail of an escalator at the old Shea Stadium.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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