Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grandstand Stage Collapses at Indiana State Fair

Tragedy visited the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday night, again.

Just across the road from the site of arguably the city's most infamous tragedy, a stage collapsed in front of an estimated 12,000 people who gathered to watch a popular country act. Four people are dead, and 40 people are injured as of this hour. Sunday activities at the fair have been called off, and the fairgrounds will be closed.

According to multiple sources, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued around 8:39 p.m. for Marion County. About 10 minutes later, a strong gust of wind hit the Indiana State Fairgrounds Grandstand stage area and toppled a large canopy rigging that covered the main stage. The canopy and associated lighting structures, video screens, trusses, and other equipment dropped in seconds onto the stage and into the VIP seating area just in front of the stage.

Sugarland was the headlining group of the concert along with opening act Sara Bareilles. Bareilles had just finished her set when dark clouds began to threaten. According to multiple media reports, a man made an announcement updating the crowd as to what might happen if weather were to get worse. Shortly after he left the stage, the gust of wind toppled it.

Immediately after the stage collapsed, video shows hundreds of concert goers running back to help with the relief effort.

Of course, this is not the first time tragedy has struck at a huge public gathering at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the 1963 Coliseum explosion occurred just a few hundred feet from the stage collapse. A leaky propane tank ignited by a popcorn machine on Halloween night blew out large sections of the Coliseum seating area throwing the people in those seats onto the ice along with large pieces of concrete. The explosion killed 74 and injured close to 400 people.

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Here's video of the collapse from YouTube

Music Pix filed this video on YouTube of the aftermath.

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