Taylor Swift Concertgoer Details "Alarming" Conditions at Show Where Fan Died
The fan says he suffered a heatstroke and was charged for water during the crisis.
After concertgoer Ana Clara Benevides Machado died after attending Taylor Swift's concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, another fan has spoken out about a medical emergency he experienced at the same show. As reported by Daily Dot, Derick Rilea shared a nearly 10-minute-long TikTok video after hearing that Benevides' family was looking to investigate her death. The fan, who says he suffered heatstroke while in the crowd, says in the video, "I share my story to shed some light into how the venue was handling medical emergencies on that day."
Rilea claims that as soon as he arrived at the venue, Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos, for the Nov. 17 concert, he could tell from the "chaos" that "[organizers] were not prepared for what they were doing there." He says that it took a long time for him to find an entrance where his ticket would work, and that he nearly left, thinking that perhaps he'd purchased a scam ticket. He says that he had the same type of ticket as Benevides.
Rilea goes on to explain that he brought two bottles of water with him because Rio was experiencing a heatwave, but security told him he could not bring the unopened bottles inside. According to Reuters, the heat index in Rio reached 138.7 degrees Fahrenheit on Nov. 17. Rilea drank as much water as he could before entering the stadium and ran to the stage to "get as close" as he could. He says, "I think it's important to mention that I think I was also right alongside or very close to Ana Benevides, which means we were dealing with the same security there, I believe."
Rilea explains that during the show, he began "sweating intensely" and that his clothes were soon soaked through. He says he repeatedly attempted to ask nearby security for water but was ignored. He realized he was "very close to fainting" and wanted to go over the barricade to leave, but says security told him he had to go back through the crowd. Knowing that this would be very difficult, other fans helped him over the barricade anyway. He explains a security person was "essentially dragging [him] out of the stadium. "[A]nd I was like, 'OK, he's gonna bring me to a medic.' No, he brings me to a drink vendor,'" Rilea continues.
Rilea says he was then begging for water and couldn't communicate much else. People attending to him put ice on his wrists, sat him down, and fanned him, but he says he was told he had to pay for water. He also says someone checked his pulse and said they couldn't feel one. "In my mind I'm thinking, 'OK, I'm dying. This is what dying is like,'" he recalls. He says he was asked to pay 40 Brazilian reais for water ($8 USD), which he calls an "insane amount of price gouging, especially for someone in a medical emergency." He also says that it was suggested he purchase a soda to get sugar in his system. "No, I've given you enough money, I'm not buying a Coke," he responded.
Riles continues, "The purpose of this story really is that my life was not safe there at the concert. I was undergoing a medical emergency and their only concern was price-gouging me for water." He adds of Benevides, "It kills me to know that the same people that were handling me were responsible for her life … I sincerely hope that her family is able to get justice for her life … And I hope this video will reach the right people."
During the concert, Swift paused to announce that there were fans who needed to be given water, as reported by USA Today. Fans reportedly could be heard chanting "water" during the show. Swift also threw a water bottle into the audience herself. Her Saturday, Nov. 18 show at the same venue was then postponed to Monday, Nov. 20 due to the heatwave.
As reported by the Associated Press, Benevides sought medical attention while at the venue and was taken to the hospital. Her cause of death has not been announced. NBC News reports that Time for Fun (T4F), the organizer of the concert, is being investigated by authorities. In a statement on social media, T4F said that Benevides was initially treated by paramedics and taken to a first aid center, and then taken to the hospital where she died an hour later. Serafim Abreu, the CEO of the company, also said in an Instagram video that they apologize to "all who did not have the best possible experience" amid reports that others fell unwell at the show.
On Nov. 18, T4F posted that sealed plastic water bottles and food would now be allowed inside of the stadiums for the two additional Rio concerts. The AP reported that federal authorities started requiring that free water be available at concerts and other large events following Benevides' death.
Swift spoke out about Benevides on Instagram. Us Weekly reports that she wrote on her Instagram Story, "I can't believe I'm writing these words but it is with a shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show. I can't even tell you how devastated I am by this. There's very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young." Members of Benevides' family were invited to attend one of Swift's shows in São Paulo, Brazil, where they met the pop star, People reports.
Best Life has reached out to T4F and Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos for comment.
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