A concert stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed last night, killing five people and injuring at least 45 more. Heavy rain and strong winds assaulted the stage while fans waited for the country music duo Sugarland to perform. The roof (and equipment) that was erected above the stage toppled, sending audience members running away from it.
The tragic accident, which occurred at about 9 p.m., unfolded in a dramatic scene captured on a YouTube video (below). In the video, stage equipment tumbles forward onto frightened fans under darkened skies. (Photo by Los Angeles Times)
The victims were identified by the Marion County coroner's office as Tammy Vandam, Glenn Goodrich, Alina Bigjohny, Christina Santiago and Nathan Byrd, who passed away overnight.
In a statement to the Associated Press, the lead singer of Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles, said there were "no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity."
Shortly after the accident, Sugarland said on Twitter: “We are all right. We are praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you will join us. They need our strength.”
Singer Sara Bareilles had just finished her set on the outdoor stage when 60 mile-per-hour winds took it down. "I'm speechless and feel so helpless," Bareilles said on Twitter. "My heart aches for the lives lost."
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather alert for central Indiana, warning of heavy rain and thunderstorms. "Thunderstorms may be severe with damaging winds and large hail as the main threats," the alert said. "The storms will also produce dangerous lightning and brief heavy rainfall."
In the chaos after the collapse, concertgoers rushed to the stage to lift scaffolding and equipment off of the victims. At local hospitals, triage and family reunification rooms were set up.
“People put themselves in jeopardy. It’s gratifying to know that at a moment’s notice people will jump in to help others,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers.
The fair was shut down Sunday in the aftermath of the accident.