The National FFA Convention has returned to Indianapolis, much to the city leaders’ approval. But difficult questions are being raised concerning the critically injured young man who fell at Circle Center Mall. Unfortunately, the tragic event last Thursday has turned the spotlight away from the program’s purpose.
During a break in the program’s activities, FFA Member and Texas native, Phillip Caler, fell from the mall’s third-floor, landing 41 feet below. Officials transferred Caler to Methodist Hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Initial reports indicate that Caler was sitting on a third-floor handrail when he lost his balance and fell, striking the second-floor handrail and landing on the lowest level. Interviews with those who witnessed the event now calls into question whether the escalator is involved in any way. One account places Caler leaning over the hand-rail when he lost his balance.
No video footage is available for the incident. An answer as to how this incident occurred may never be found.
In a Friday evening press conference, officials refused to answer questions concerning the organization’s policy on supervision of the members while at the conference. Adult supervisors are assigned to the youth but it remains unclear as to their responsibilities throughout the day and night. One report indicates that three adults are responsible for up to 250 youth. The FAA organization released a statement, posted information on their web site and provides a link to a Facebook page for those who wish to follow the young man’s status.
Another issue yet to be addressed is the responsibility of the Circle Center Mall, its owners and security staff.