4 Killed, 40 Hurt In Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse‎

Officials in Indianapolis said early Sunday that the toll could rise beyond the four confirmed dead after rigging and scaffolding collapsed onto a crowd waiting for the country band Sugarland to perform at the Indiana State Fair.

“I want to be very forthcoming -- we could have other deaths,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers. “We hope everyone will be praying for the injured.”

In a dramatic scene captured on a YouTube video, the towering stage equipment tumbled forward onto fans against a backdrop of darkened skies, a massive dust storm and gusty winds. One woman could be heard saying, “Oh my God, oh my God!”

Photos: Deadly stage collapse

“It was like it was in slow motion,” concertgoer Amy Weathers told the Indianapolis Star. “You couldn't believe it was actually happening.”

At least 40 people were injured and taken to local hospitals, where triage and family reunification rooms were set up. 

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.”

In the choas afterward, scores of concertgoers rushed to the stage to lift broken scaffolding and equipment off people, Myers said during a televised press conference about five hours after the 9 p.m. accident.

“People put themselves in jeopardy…and it’s gratifying to know that at a moment’s notice people will jump in to help others,” he said.

No one was performing at the time of the collapse. The opening act had finished, and the crowd was waiting for Sugarland to take the stage.

At the same time, the weather was worsening; there had been heavy rain and winds were picking up. State police were monitoring radar weather reports on their Smartphones. They had just decided to evacuate the  grandstands and were putting officials in place to carry out the plan. But it wasn’t fast enough.

"What hit wasn't a storm, it was a significant gust of wind," Myers said. "That gust upset the rigging and structure up on the stage and caused the collapse."

State police said that those hospitalized had suffered a range of injuries from minor to critical.

Athough there were no accounts of missing people, authorities were searching the fairgrounds early Sunday for possible victims.

“We are making sure no one was in a state of confusion, injured or dazed and could have wandered,” Myers said.

Officials are putting together a detailed timeline of events and weather reports leading up to the accident to gain an “understanding of everything that occurred.”

He did not have information about how the stage structure was assembled, but said investigators will probe those issues.

Associated Press photographer Darron Cummings was in the audience as a fan shortly before the collapse.  Cummings said he and his friends sought shelter in a nearby barn after seeing the weather radar.

“Then we heard screams. We heard people just come running,” Cummings said.

Source: LA Times


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Comment by Howard on August 19, 2011 at 8:09pm

Dust Storm Envelops Phoenix

For the third time this summer, a giant wall of dust swept over Phoenix and parts of central Arizona, turning the sky brown, delaying flights, and knocking out power to thousands.

Comment by Howard on August 18, 2011 at 11:06pm

Another outdoor music festival mauled by a sudden windstorm: 

Storm kills 3, Injures More Than 70 at Open Air Music Festival in B...

(courtesy of Gerard Zwaan)


Comment by Howard on August 15, 2011 at 7:26pm

NWS analysis: "It was a Gustnado."

Definition of a Gustnado, from the National Weather Service

"A slang term for a short-lived, ground-based, shallow, vortex that develops on a gust front associated with either thunderstorms or showers. They may only extend to 30 to 300 feet above the ground with no apparent connection to the convective cloud above."


Given that during an Earth wobble, the ground moves beneath the cloak of air floating above it, this action would result in wind vortices near the surface, since air closest to the ground will be the most disturbed by the friction of movement between these two mediums. 

Comment by Laurei Bulpin on August 15, 2011 at 6:59pm
Another One!
Comment by Love is the answer on August 15, 2011 at 5:35pm
Comment by Howard on August 15, 2011 at 12:05am

"National Weather Service estimated winds at 60 to 70 mph."  Source


Preliminary NWS wind measurements for Indianapolis, Indiana, August 13:

51 mph max gust

40 mph sustained. 



"It's not clear to me at this stage how anyone could have foreseen a sudden, highly localized gust of wind in one place," Gov. Daniels said Sunday.


"Where the Earth is pulled, the atmosphere is not, and lingers where it was while the crust moves beneath it. Accounts of sudden wind storms, unexpected and out of season, are occurring."

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