Beatrice Dupuis and Colin Slevin, Associated Press
1 hour ago
In this photo provided by West Metro Fire, hail covers a walkway at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, near Denver, Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Firefighters say seven people have been hospitalized and as many as 90 have been treated. For injuries after hail fell on those present in the outer hall. None of those taken to hospital suffered serious injuries, West Metro Fire Rescue said. She added that the injuries included cuts and broken bones. (West Metro Fire via AP)
DENVER (AP) — A short but fierce storm lashed attendees with golf-ball-sized hail as they lunged for cover at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver, injuring dozens and canceling the star of the show, former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson.
As many as 90 people were treated for storm injuries Wednesday night at an outdoor location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Westfire Rescue said, and seven people were hospitalized. Rescue spokeswoman Rhonda Schulting said some caught cold and others sustained broken bones, bruises and cuts while seeking shelter, but there were no life-threatening injuries.
The hail like snow has accumulated in places in the amphitheater, which was carved out of a sedimentary rock formation. The show was initially postponed due to the weather, as fans were told to take shelter in their cars, according to tweets from the venue. The concert was later cancelled.
The hail sprinklers started falling when Nicole Kreiner was 28, and her sister was making her way to the car to escape the raging storm. Before they could achieve that, larger hailstones started pelting them, and they grabbed a small plastic sign at the entrance of the venue to cover their heads.
The banner kept their heads partly covered, Kreiner said, but their hands, backs, and shoulders were tingled with stinging cold. Kreiner’s glasses fell off her head and were swept away into a river of hail flowing nearby.
Criner shared a video of the moment on Twitter in which party-goers can be seen running as her sister screams in pain from the cold that hit them. Others sought to hide under trees and bushes.
“We were hiding under this plastic banner, but it was very windy, and we were trying to get it over our heads, but then our hands got hit with cold,” she said. “We weren’t fully sheltered, so we were beaten on our shoulders and back.”
Kreiner and her sister escaped from the cold when a car got into a car and the driver called them inside with others who had nowhere else to hide. Kreiner and her sister manage to reconnect with their father and his girlfriend, whom they lost in the chaos, who was bleeding from a bump on her head.
She said she was still sore and bruised a day later.
“I still have an egg bump on my head,” she said Thursday, when another round of thunderstorms dropped significant hail in parts of the Denver area.
Beth Nappy, 44, had flown in from Dublin, Ireland, to see one of her favorite musicians perform at a Colorado venue. At about 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, she said, she could see lightning and thunder approaching in the distance.
As the weather worsened, attendees were encouraged to seek shelter.
But not wanting to give up hope of seeing Tomlinson, Nabe held on. She said that hail began to fall while she was in the bathroom and that the bathroom quickly filled with other attendees trying to escape the hailstorm.
“I walked out of the bathroom into a bathroom filled with as many people as I could cram in there, all seeking shelter,” she said.
The storm lasted about 10 minutes before she could leave the bathroom and see the hail cover the ground.
“The hailstorm was crazy. It was horrible,” she said.
To top things off, she returns to her rental car to find its windshield cracked in several places and the hood dented. Nabi said she is anxiously awaiting to hear when the concert will be rescheduled.
“I just felt like it didn’t last,” she said. “I’m hoping we get some word on when they’ll be rescheduled, and I’m hoping I can make it happen because I’ve been so looking forward to experimenting at that venue.”
Tomlinson tweeted that he was “disappointed” about the cancellation and promised to come back.
“Even though we didn’t play the show, I felt all your passion! Sending you all the love!” he wrote.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Denver.
Dupuis reported from New York.
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