At least 17 students at an Indiana high school were injured when a stage collapsed during a spring musical on April 23.
During a performance of a student-led musical called "American Pie" at Westfield High School in Westfield, Indiana, the stage on which the performers were standing gave way and collapsed. The students were thrown into the orchestra pit, causing a panic among parents and faculty in the audience.
“I was honestly just shocked,” senior Andrew Baier, who was in attendance, said. “I didn't think that anything like that could happen, especially here at Westfield."
Baier said he helped a young woman injured in the collapse, who had blood running down her face as well as an injured leg and ankle. “We were all just trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “We were trying to help those who couldn't help themselves.”
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Others in attendance recalled the incident, saying that while many rushed the stage to help those who were injured, some remained in their seats to stay out of the way.
“Some parents rushed the stage area,” attendee Mandi McKinley Brown said. “Most of us stayed in our seats to stay out of the way. People were lifting large pieces of the stage out of the pit from on top of the kids.
Brown continued, "It took a moment to actually process what just happened. Then, it was all about the kids. I was very thankful mine were sitting next to me and praying for the very worried parents whose kids were on stage."
While none of the injuries sustained in the collapse were serious, 17 students went to hospital with some kind of injury. As of April 24, one remained in hospital receiving treatment.
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The school opened normally on April 24, though counselors and staff offered support throughout the day for students who were left in shock by the accident or struggling emotionally with what happened.
“We just want to make sure we're there to help them,” Westfield High Human Relations Director Chris Baldwin said. “That's what we do every day."
Authorities and school officials are investigating the incident and trying to figure out what caused the stage to give way. According to officials, the stage was updated and redone as recently as a few years ago.
Video of the incident went viral quickly, with some viewers on Reddit taking the footage more lightly than others.
“The kids are all alright... they're just going through a stage,” Dangoodspeed said.
“This looks staged,” I_have_severe quipped.
Even Westfield Mayor Andy Cook attempted to comfort students by putting a humorous spin on the incident.
“I said, 'You kids must really have been rocking,’" Cook said at a press conference. “They said, 'Yes, we had a good time.'” According to Cook, who visited with many of the injured students at the hospital, most of them were “upbeat” and in good spirits following the accident.
Photo Credit: Screen Capture Via YouTube