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Wednesday
Jul132011

Baseball Fan Saved from Near-Death Fall Admits 'Bad Judgment'

Keith Carmickle and his brother Kraig talk with ABC News about his narrow escape from a 20ft. fall while trying to catch a baseball. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- The Arizona baseball fan who narrowly escaped a 20-foot plunge while trying to catch a ball says all he recalls of the incident is the frantic screams of those around him and worries that his brother, who reached in to save his life, would be able to hold him. 

"I'm a 250-pound guy," Keith Carmickle, of Kingman, Ariz., said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. "The look in my brother's face just appeared like, 'Can we hold on to this guy?'"

Carmickle fell after climbing onto a table just 18 inches wide and leaning forward precariously over the railing in front of his right-field bleacher seats to try and catch a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers star Prince Fielder during Major League Baseball's All-Star Home Run Derby at Chase Field, in Phoenix, on Monday night.

"I was using bad judgment on my part," Carmickle told GMA.

"When it came off the bat it seemed like it was coming directly at us," he said of the moments before the accident occurred. "I stepped up on the ladder and tumbled overboard before I realized what had even happened."

Carmickle fell over the railing headfirst before being grabbed by his brother, Kraig Carmickle, a friend, Aaron Nelson, and other spectators, who managed to save him from the estimated 20-foot fall to the stadium's pool deck.

Carmickle's near-death fall came on the same day as the funeral of Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter who fell to his death while trying to catch a ball for his young son thrown into the stands by Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

"I can only imagine what the Stone family is going through," said Kraig.

Stone's death and Carmickle's close call have raised questions about the safety of major league ballparks, and whether it is the fans who put themselves at risk by reaching for foul balls or the league and the teams who are not adequately protecting the fans.

Carmickle announced on GMA he'd be auctioning off two of the three balls they caught during the game on eBay, in an effort to raise money for Stone's family. They gave a third ball to a young baseball fan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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