Fall from Texas Rangers' stands kills fan

Updated at 5:15 a.m. Eastern

ARLINGTON, Texas - A Texas Rangers fan died after falling out of the stands while trying to catch a baseball tossed his way during a game Thursday.

The Rangers said the man fell about 20 feet. Television replays showed him falling head-first and landing behind a 14-foot wall which supports a video scoreboard.

"We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball," team president Nolan Ryan said. "As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we're very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family."

A somber Ryan didn't go into details about the accident or release the man's name.

Ronnie Hargis was sitting in the stands next to the victim, who was at the game with his young son. The men were talking to each other before the accident.

"He went straight down. I tried to grab him but I couldn't," Hargis said. "I tried to slow him down a little bit."

The man was still conscious as he lay on the ground - reportedly saying, "my son's up there alone" - but he died later at the hospital.

The accident occurred in the second inning when Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton retrieved a foul ball and tossed it into the stands. Replays showed the man reaching for the ball and apparently catching it before tumbling.

"We spoke to the ballclub, they understood what has happened and we spoke to Josh," Ryan said. "As any of us would be, Josh is very distraught over this, as the entire team is."

Former U.S. president George W. Bush was sitting in the front row with Ryan when the accident happened. Ryan left moments later while Bush remained in the seats.

Ryan said the former president, who is a former co-owner of the club and a frequent visitor to Rangers Ballpark, was aware of what was happening.

Hargis' daughter said the victim's head was bleeding badly.

Safawna Dunn, who was sitting behind the victim, said he appeared to have injuries to both arms and was conscious when taken away on a stretcher.

"Josh Hamilton tried to throw (the ball) up to the guy because they were yelling for the ball," Dunn said.

There was an audible gasp in the stands when the man tumbled over the rail, eerily similar to an accident last July when a man fell about 30 feet from the second-deck of seats down the right-field line while trying to catch a foul ball.

That fan, Tyler Morris, suffered a fractured skull and sprained ankle.

After Morris was hurt last year, he called the incident a "100 percent, total accident that could have happened to anybody." He said he didn't blame the Rangers or the ballpark.

Ryan said it was too early to talk about similarities between the two accidents and what evaluations the team might make about railings at the stadium.

"Tonight, we're not prepared to speak about anything further than the accident and the tragedy," Ryan said. "That's where I'm going to leave it."