Emanuel Balbo, a 22-year-old Argentine man, has been pronounced brain dead due to injuries he suffered at a soccer game when attackers in the stands pushed him over the stadium railing during a match between local rivals Belgrano and Talleres on Saturday.
Here’s the clearest video of Balbo’s fall:
According to reports in Argentina, the incident started with a confrontation in the stands between Balbo and another man, Oscar Gómez. The two reportedly had history. As La Nacion describes it, in 2012, Gómez ran down Balbo’s brother, who was on a motorcycle with a friend, while Gómez and another person were in the midst of a street race. The cars flying by made Balbo’s brother crash (the reports I read didn’t clarify if Gómez’s car hit the motorcycle or not), and the brother and his friend both died. Because of this, Balbo and Gómez shared a grudge.
A friend who was with Balbo in the stands on Saturday recounted his version of what happened there to La Nación (translation via Google Translate):
For Lucas, 27, the sadness barely allows him to speak. He was with Emanuel when everything happened. “We always went to the Gasparini, but as we did not get tickets we went to the Willington.” [Note: the Gasparini and Willington stands are different sections of the stadium.] As we were heading up we saw Gomez. He screamed at us: ‘What the fuck are you looking at?’ and insulted us. We just kept going up and we blended into the crowd. At the end of the first half, many of them [in the crowd] sat down and he saw us again. “Come on, come on,” he shouted. And then he came to us with others to fight. I grabbed him [Gómez], but the others went at Emanuel. Then they threw him, they pushed him,” he told LA NACION.
At some point before the fighting began, Gómez shouted to the surrounding fans that Balbo was a Talleres fan. This was not true, as Balbo was in fact a Belgrano fan, but it did incite the Belgrano fans nearby. When Gómez and his accomplices began attacking Balbo, multiple fans joined in on the beating.
Balbo tried to flee, but the railing eventually pinned him in. In the video it appears that Balbo planned on hopping over the railing and jumping down in order to escape. As Balbo hiked his leg over the railing in preparation for the jump, his assailants caught up to him and shoved him over the ledge. The drop was reportedly about 10 feet.
This video shows a little more of the lead-up to Balbo’s fall:
This one shows the aftermath of Balbo’s fall:
Balbo hit his head hard on the fall and was immediately rushed to the hospital. There, he was diagnosed with cardiorespiratory arrest. Doctors were able to get Balbo’s heart started again, but his brain showed no signs of activity so they pronounced him brain dead. As of the latest report, the hospital is keeping Balbo’s body alive so that they can harvest his organs for donation, after which he will be taken off life support.