3 Dead In Indiana Fair Stage Collapse
August 13, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 13 (UPI) — High winds toppled the main concert stage at the Indiana State Fair Saturday night, killing at least three people and injuring 24 others, authorities said.
The thunderstorm winds hit as the crowd of about 12,000 waited for the country band Sugarland to perform.
Indiana State Police Capt. Brad Weaver confirmed the three deaths, The Indianapolis Star reported. The injured were taken to Methodist and Wishard hospitals, he said.
Fort Wayne’s WANE-TV reported the National Weather Service said the winds were estimated at 60-70 mph. The weather service also said four people had died, the TV station said.
Indianapolis’ WRTV-TV reported the Marion County Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew said there could be more fatalities.
WANE-TV employee Kirby Ehler, who was at the fair to see Sugarland perform, said the wind grabbed the stage and its roof “like a sail and then it crashed forward into the people standing in the front.”
“There were people trapped underneath and everyone was running and screaming,” Ehler said. “They were asking any medics or nurses not to leave.”
An emergency center was set up at the fairgrounds to treat victims, firefighters said.
“It was like it was in slow motion, you couldn’t believe it was actually happening,” concert-goer Amy Weathers of Centerville told the Star.
The opening act, Sara Bareilles, had finished her set shortly before the storm Weathers said.
Sugarland later posted a message via Twitter: “We are all right. We are praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you’ll join us. They need your strength.”