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death hits Flatley show...
two nights after ShowBizIreland.com joined
The Lord of the Dance Micheal Flatley in NY
a rigger on one of his shows died in a sudden accident.
Kevin Finn had climbed a steel ladder at Continental
Arena in East Rutherford many times to take his position
behind a spotlight. But
last Sunday night, something went horribly wrong.
before the Feet of Flames performance was to
begin, Finn inexplicably fell 20 feet to his death,
landing between two musicians and just 6 feet from
star dancer Michael Flatley.
fall took place behind the curtain and out of view
of the audience. The performance was delayed for 40
minutes while rescue workers tried to save Finn according
to the New Jersey news.
really don't know precisely how it happened," said
Dan DiTolla, president of Local 632 of the
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees,
of which Finn was a member.
preliminary investigation found that Finn had been
wearing his safety harness, said Sgt. Al Della Fave,
a state police spokesman. Apparently, though, it was
not attached to the support structure for the lights.
No one knew why Finn had not attached his safety equipment,
DiTolla said. "Kevin was a veteran and one of our
best people at doing this," said Joe Villani, business
manager of the union. "Why he was not clipped in,
we don't understand."
police are ruling the death accidental; other government
agencies are investigating. Finn, 41, was assigned
to run one of the spotlights hanging from the ceiling.
The job would have been familiar to him. He was to
sit on the truss and, listening over a headset, take
cues from the lighting designer: widen the beam, shorten
the beam, move the light, change the colors, or focus
on one performer or another.
was a skilled operator who had done this for 20 years,"
DiTolla said. The fall occurred at 8 p.m. New Jersey
Sports and Exposition Authority emergency medical
technicians attended to Finn. He was rushed to Riverside
Hospital in Secaucus, where he was pronounced dead,
Della Fave said.
far as could be determined Monday, the audience was
not aware of the frantic activity taking place just
beyond their view. Flatley asked the crew members
if the show should be canceled, and they said no,
according to Villani.
have a house that has 10,000 to 15,000 people in it,"
he said. "You have to go on with the show."
after the performance got under way, Flatley announced
that "a young man was seriously hurt here tonight"
and said that he wanted to dedicate the show to him,
Nesoff, a spokesman for the Bergen County Sheriff's
Office who was at the performance because he is a
fan of Irish dancing, had heard the thud behind the
"Then silence," he said. "I remember thinking, 'That's
one hell of a special effect they're setting up.'
" The curtains remained closed.
15 minutes after the fall, a woman with an Irish brogue
announced that there were technical problems, and
apologized for the delay, Nesoff said.
15 more minutes, restless audience members began to
clap their hands and stomp their feet, and the same
woman returned to the microphone and again explained
that technical difficulties had delayed the show,
The performance began at 8:40 p.m. "I guess the show
goes on," Nesoff said. Authorities believed it was
the first fatality of any worker at the Meadowlands
who lived with his mother in Brooklyn, is also survived
by an older brother, union members said, adding that
another brother died last year. A man who identified
himself as his older brother declined to comment when
reached by telephone Monday.