Man critically hurt after fall from theater balcony

WICHITA — A 26-year-old Wichita man is in critical condition at a local hospital today after falling from the balcony at the Warren Theatre in east Wichita on Sunday.

Dan Gray, vice president of operations for the Warren, said the man and his sister -- both of whom are mentally disabled -- went to the theater at 11611 E. 13th St. to see "Sanctum" early Sunday afternoon.

The man and his mother went to use the bathroom and he came out into the lobby first, Gray said. He began looking for her and wandered into a stadium seating theater that was preparing to show the movie "True Grit."

He climbed the stairs to the upper level, still looking for her, then leaned against a railing to rest.

Witnesses said the man suffered a spasm of some sort, and it caused him to fall over backward onto the ground floor about 11 feet below, Gray said.

The victim landed on his head, police said.

The mother had come out of the bathroom by then and was about to begin a search for her son with the theater manager.

"Right after that is when the patrons came out of the auditorium, yelling for help," Gray said.

Authorities were notified at 12:40 p.m., and the start of the movie was delayed until the victim could be stabilized and transported to Wesley Medical Center.