Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stage Collapses Before Sugarland Concert Killing Four, Injuring Dozens

A deadly storm with wind gusts of 60-70 mph slammed into the Indiana State Fair late Saturday night at approximately 9 p.m. local time causing the main concert stage to collapse. At this time authorities are reporting at least four dead and over 40 fans receiving treatment at local hospitals. It’s estimated that more than 150 fans were also treated at a makeshift triage unit at the fairgrounds itself.

It’s possible the death toll from the stage collapse at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis, which occurred as a crowd of about 12,000 waited for a performance by Sugarland, could go higher, local authorities are reporting.

Indianapolis Star music reporter David Lindquist was in the fifth row of the Grandstand when the disaster unfolded.

“The entire stage rigging collapsed,” Lindquist said. “This is bad. This is very bad.”

According to Lindquist, opening act Sara Bareilles finished her set by commenting what a beautiful night it was. Less than 30 minutes later the stage set was on the ground.

“The gust of wind came, there was no rain yet and the production fell from left to right,” Lindquist said. “And you could see, you could clearly see people were under the footprint of the rigging.”

Emergency crews and fans quickly converged on the collapsed stage and worked to free those who were trapped, he said.

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that the State Fair has been cancelled for Sunday and will resume on Monday with a prayer and memorial service.

Following the tragedy, Sugarland posted a message via Twitter: “We are all right. We are praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you’ll join us. They need your strength.”

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