The security guard trampled by a crowd at this year's Ultra Music Festival continues to fight for her life amid calls from city officials to shut down the popular Downtown Miami event.
Twenty-eight-year-old Erica Mack remains unconscious at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she is listed in critical condition. Police said, however, that she is no longer on a ventilator and is able to breathe on her own.
As tens of thousands of revelers gathered at Bayfront Park for the electronic music showcase's third and final day, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said he will do everything in his power to ensure Ultra does not return to Downtown Miami. "It's time to say goodbye," he said. "We are bringing a resolution to the City Commission. If approved, the city will deny the permits for next year. We'd rather take quality of life instead of money."
The mayor is taking action two days after Mack was trampled by a mob of Ultra party crashers, Friday night. "Doing what she was supposed to do, she's trying to tell them that they can't do that, to move away," said Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll, "but she was not strong enough to deal with the mob of people that actually pushed this fence down, pushing her backwards, and the fence landed on top of her."
Mack was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital with severe brain hemorrhaging and a leg injury. Her father, Dwight Mack, told Miami Fox News affiliate WSVN. "It's devastating. How could something like this happen?"
Miami Police Lt. Dan Kerr, vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said this was an unfortunate incident caused by people who were not ticket holders. "People without tickets, they're going to pick the weakest spot [to enter the venue]," he said.
Regalado placed the blame squarely on the festival's organizers. "This is not an accident," he said. "This is something that could have been avoided. The promoters need to have all the measures for securing the perimeter, and they didn't."
On Saturday, Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff echoed Regalado's comments. "Ultra did two things wrong. One: They tried to use too much of their private security, and two: They failed to secure the perimeter fence as they were instructed to do so by the City of Miami Police Department," he said.
Contemporary Services Corporation, the security company Mack works for, released a statement that reads: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred this weekend at Ultra Music Festival. We will continue to keep Erica Mack and her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers as we closely monitor her condition."
On Sunday, a spokesperson for Ultra issued the following statement:
"The event organizers of Ultra Music Festival share the sentiments of our security partner, CSC, with regard to the condition of Erica Mack, the security guard currently receiving treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Ultra Family hopes for a swift and full recovery.
The event organizers prohibit any form of unlawful entry in to the event grounds. Preliminary investigations show that the incident was caused by individuals not in possession of event tickets and who were determined to gain unauthorized entry.
Every year the event organizers work collaboratively with police and other municipal partners along with the organizers' independent security partners to ensure the safety of all patrons, crew and working personnel.
Because a thorough investigation is underway, event organizers regret that additional comment cannot be provided at this time. The event coordinators are cooperating fully with investigative authorities."
Kerr said it's possible for Ultra to retain Bayfront Park as its venue, but organizers need to make significant adjustments. "They just have to make sure it's done correctly in the future," he said.
Miami Police continue investigating, reviewing surveillance video and interviewing witnesses.
Police have made 76 arrests at this year's festival. Twenty-eight of those were for felonies. So far, there have been 118 people treated by paramedics.
For more news, visit WVSN.