Saturday, August 13, 2011

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Tragedy

This home video footage captures the scene as people watched in horror at tonight's Indiana State Fair when a concert stage prepped for a performance by Sugarland collapsed on to people sitting in the VIP seating area immediately in front of the stage. WTHR-TV reports at least 4 are dead and 43 are being treated at area hospitals. Numerous eye witnesses complain that concert organizers failed to warn the audience to evacuate the area before 70 mph gusts blew into the fairgrounds with the leading edge of severe storms that hit the Indianapolis area tonight at approximately 8:50 p.m. Event organizers say a warning was made to concert-goers that severe weather was approaching and a decision had been made to begin an evacuation, but leading wind gusts from the severe storm hit the area and toppled the stage before the evacuation was undertaken.

The video footage below shows the chaotic scene as rescue workers and volunteers scramble to aid the injured.

UPDATE: The Indiana State Fair has been cancelled for Sunday in light of Saturday night's tragedy according to the Indianapolis Star. The fair will reopen on Monday.

Local TV stations are carrying a live press conference with Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana State Police and state fair personnel this morning at 10:00 a.m.. One of the injured died at a local hospital as a result of injuries sustained from the stage collapse, bringing the death toll to 5. The total number of injured has been estimated to be 45.

WTHR-TV has obtained from police the identities of the five fatalities:  Tammy Vandam, Glenn Goodrich, Alina Bigjohny, Christina Santiago, Nathan Byrd.


Marycatherine Barton said...

How horrible that this happened. Sugarland fans are such sweet people, and reportedly, the only reason that Suglarland was not on the stage, was because they were in a prayer circle. It is wonderful how afterwards, Hoosiers banded together to help each other.

Jeff Cox said...

The first video appears to show concertgoers leaving before the stage collapse. It's not totally clear but I think in the first few seconds of the video there seems to be a voice from a loudspeaker ordering "Clear the area.". It looks like they were trying to evacuate the stage area before the collapse.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Based on this morning's press conference, it seems an announcement was made advising people where they could seek shelter due to the approaching bad weather. The announcement indicated the concert might be postponed or cancelled, but they had not ordered the people to evacuate the area. People had started to leave the area before the stage collapsed.

Jeff Cox said...

The announcement that I hear comes at 0:05 into the first video.

The first video is a remarkable piece of camerawork.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The girl who recorded that first video remained very calm compared to those around her. Even when she was interviewed by WTHR about recording it, she was laughing about it. I don't think she fully comprehended the extent of what she had just documented.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

This huge crowd seemed very well self-controlled considering the seriousness of the situation.
And I salute all those who immediately went forward to assist in freeing people in the collapsed stage.