An American optician has told of his horror at watching AFL footballer John McCarthy fall to his death at a Las Vegas casino.
Matt Walker witnessed the death of the 22-year-old Port Adelaide player, who fell nine metres from a Vegas casino roof while on an end of season trip.
Mr Walker believed McCarthy jumped from the roof at the Flamingo casino complex, aiming for a palm tree to slide down.
“I kind of heard some rustling in a tree up above, and at that point I caught a glimpse of something flying,” Mr Walker told News Limited.
“It was horrible, absolutely horrible.”
Mr Walker said he and another optician, Cathi Miller, were waiting for an airport shuttle when McCarthy fell around 5.40am on Sunday, Las Vegas time.
Investigators also believe McCarthy, on a third-storey roof, tried to jump to a palm tree.
“I think it was a possible thing to do,” Mr Walker said.
“The tree was only about four feet from the roofline, so if you're at all athletic, I think you would be able to run and grab hold of the tree and then slide down.
“I bet he thought he could jump on to it and get his legs wrapped around it and slide down.
“The problem is, those trees are very smooth, very slippery.
“He made somewhat of a contact but was not able to hold on.
“That makes me think that maybe he took a running jump from the roof but overcompensated.”
McCarthy had been drinking with other Port players at a nightclub, where the sportsmen were offered drugs, before being separated from his teammates.
McCarthy was believed to have gone to the Flamingo casino, caught a lift and then accessed the roof through an open door.
Although McCarthy's family have made no indication they blame anybody for his death, US personal injury lawyer Gene Drakulich said if they did decide on legal action, they would not win a law suit against the casino.
“There's a duty of care that you have to exercise. That's the standard in the state of Nevada. If you breach that duty of care you can be found liable,” Mr Drakulich said.
“If a guy goes up to the top of a casino and jumps off a roof, that is really not breaching any duty that they have.
“The guy goes up on the roof and he's acting reckless, he's had a few too many beers ... and he wants to do something as foolhardy as jump on to a tree and falls to his death.“The onus is on him.”
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