1 dead, 1 in critical condition after fall at Ala Moana Center

Published: Oct. 10, 2016 at 9:45 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 11, 2016 at 1:18 AM HST
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Nicholas Freitas (right) (Image: Rachel Kamai)
Nicholas Freitas (right) (Image: Rachel Kamai)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One man died and another was critically injured at Ala Moana Center around 10 p.m. Sunday when the metal railing they were leaning against apparently gave way, police said.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified the man who died as 21-year-old Nicholas Freitas a 2013 graduate of Roosevelt High School, was apparently on the third level in an area near the former Pearl wine bar when the accident happened.

The other victim, also 21 years old, was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

The pair landed several levels below near the Barnes and Nobles bookstore.

Experts say Ala Moana's construction team should  take a close look at other structures to see if they carry similar risk of collapse .

In a statement, Ala Moana Center General Manager Francis Cofran said mall officials are cooperating with police.

"We are very saddened by what happened at Ala Moana Center on Oct. 9," he said. "We extend our sincerest condolences to the families of those involved. The safety and welfare of our customers is of the utmost importance: we take that very seriously."

Attorney Myles Breiner says the center faces potential liability for the accident.

"To be blunt, they're on the hook," Breiner said.

Breiner sued the center over another accidental death in 2004, involving a Big island woman who plunged four stories into a ventilation shaft.

He says the state Supreme Court ruled three years ago the property owner is responsible for providing a safe venue for shoppers.

An autopsy for Freitas has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Authorities have not released further details.

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