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Five Dead As Stage Collapses At Sugarland Concert

Monday, 15 August 2011 Written by Elliott Batte
Five Dead As Stage Collapses At Sugarland Concert

Five people have died following horrifying scenes at a Sugarland concert in Indianapolis on Saturday, after the stage collapsed following strong winds.

Another 45 people were left injured after the freak accident, which happened after an announcement to the fans advising them to take cover as bad weather was incoming. Five minutes after organisers decided to command the crowds to leave the grandstand and take cover, the stage was hit by huge winds which toppled the stage rig.

The winds are believed to have hit a hefty 60mph, causing the lighting rig, metal trusses and speakers to fall on top of dozens of fans. Many were left trapped and crushed under the extremely heavy stage parts, as some of the 12,000 concert-goers attempted to help. You can see high quality footage of the incident below – but be warned, it does contain some disturbing scenes.

One eye-witness told the BBC of the shocking events: “It was the worst thing I have witnessed in my life. We could see the sky get really dark and there was lightning and thunder. It almost seemed like a hurricane hit out of nowhere.”

She continued “The stage just leaned to the right and crashed down. It felt to me like it was in slow motion. Everyone was scrambling and it was horrifying because you knew people were underneath it.”

The collapse happened just prior to country duo Sugarland taking the stage at the Indiana State Fair. State Fair officials that they were told they had longer before the huge winds would hit.

“The information we had,” said spokesman Andy Koltz, “with our meteorologist on site with constant contact with the National Weather Service, was that we had about 30 more minutes before any kind of rain or storm blew in.

“We were in constant contact with the National Weather Service, and we were constantly trying to figure out what was coming, when it was coming and get people to a position of safety as best we could with the information that we had.”

Fair groundskeeper Roger Smith thought differently though, insisting that the deaths of the fans were preventable. “It's pathetic. It makes me mad. Those lives could have been saved yesterday.”

Country duo Sugarland escaped unscathed after the incident but told fans they were ‘stunned and heartbroken’ by the scenes. “We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time, there are no words. It is tragic.”


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