Stage Collapses Before Sugarland Concert Killing at Least 4

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UPDATE: A 5th person has died.  Jennifer Nettles released a statement, saying that Sugarland is  “stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana. We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words. It is tragic.” Also, added tweets from Idols reacting to the tragedy. Plus, a new video of the stage collapse

This is terrible news.  A gust of wind brought down a stage at the Indiana Stage fair tonight, killing at least 4 and injuring 24.  The country band, Sugarland, were about to take the stage when it happened.  The video at the bottom of the page shows the stage suddenly collapse. Read a news report from CNN below:

(CNN) — A massive gust of wind brought down a stage at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday night, killing at least four and injuring 24, officials said.

Authorities said they feared more casualties.

“A big gust of wind came through. You could see a lot of people panicking. All the scaffolding and speakers — all that came crashing down — and the whole stand just collapsed,” said Aaron Richman, who witnessed the collapse at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Allison Hoehn said many rushed to those trapped after the stage crumbled.

“We tried to get down to help, but no one was moving,” Hoehn said. “The storm came on so fast and the stage just snapped like a toothpick.

“Everyone rushed to help and we saw people searching and pulling people out. (I) saw five people go away on stretchers. It was amazing how many people ran in to try to lift the scaffolding.”

The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety posted on its Twitter page the death toll and said that 24 people had been taken to area hospitals.

Two local hospitals placed the number of injured at 43, including some walk-in patients.

Capt. Brad Weaver, commander of special operations for the Indiana State Police, said he took the stage at 8:45 p.m. to warn the audience of severe weather.

Ten minutes later, the wind gust blew through.

He said he “saw the framework from the stage start to come over.”

He said he and others took cover behind a trailer, which was also struck by debris from the stage.

Singer Sara Bareilles had finished her set at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage when the wind knocked down the rigging on to the stage.

“I’m speechless and feel so helpless,” Bareilles said on her Twitter page. “My heart aches for the lives lost.”

The show’s headliner, country music duo Sugarland, was to take the stage next.

“We are stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana.” said Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles. “We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words. It is tragic.”

Thoughts and prayers go out to those affected and their friends and families.

A few Idols posted their condolences on twitter.

David Cook tweeted, “Awful news about what happened at the Indiana State Fair.  Thoughts are with all those affected.” 

Jordin Sparks tweeted, “OMG. I have no words. Please #pray for those who were at the fair in Indy. “ 

Kelly Clarkson posted, “Just saw video footage of the stage collapsing at Sugarland’s show in Indiana. Oh my gosh that is maybe one of scariest things I’ve ever seen. I pray everybody on their crew and the band is okay. …I’m not sure what news is correct or not but I heard the people that died or got injured were fans. Please keep all of their families in your prayers. What a horrible thing to happen.” 

Paul McDonald tweeted, “Very sad news about the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families.”

Didi Benami tweeted, “praying for everyone at the concert in Indianapolis. Oh my Goodness. I’m speechless. Praying for healing for those lost & those injured.”

Chris Daughtry tweeted, “Wow! Just saw video of Indiana State fair stage collapse! We’re played that stage! So horrible!”

Crystal Bowersox tweeted, “Omg so sad for the fans and friends and families…”

Kris Allen tweets, “Horrible what happened at the Indy State Fair. Praying for the families of the people that lost their loved ones.”

 
  • Montavilla

    This is terrible. I feel for everyone involved, especially the families of those killed and injured.

  • Kylee

    That’s pretty scary.

  • abbysee

    Wow. How terrible. I hope that they are no more casualties or injuries, and prayers for those lost or hurt. Sucks.

  • CSFan

    One life lost is too many, but I’m shocked there weren’t more casualties. The video is terrifying.

  • cwm

    Wow, that is awful. Those poor people.

  • houstonrufus23

    Awful. The videos make almost make me sick. Worst nightmare scenario. I send my prayers out to all impacted by this.

  • Ratna12

    I just saw a picture before seeing this video, so I thought it was just one of the scaffoldings that went down. This is horrible.

  • snapcracklypop

    That’s horrible :((( I guess maybe they should treat concerts like flights, by gauging the weather. Like, if the winds are getting up to those speeds, they should post-pone the concert. My condolences to the families and friends affected by this.

    Kris Allen and Keith Urban played there just about one year ago (8/14/10). I wonder if it gets this windy there at this time of the year, ever year?

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Wow. That stage looked so flimsy as it collapsed. So sorry for the injured and those killed.

  • snapcracklypop
  • Kirsten

    How terrible,

    A stage collapsed in Ottawa last month after a gust of wind. Officials said at the time that it was a freak accident and I believed them because I didn’t recall it ever happening before. Now this happens.

    Is it just a freak coincidence or are stage collapses a fairly frequent occurrence? Or are officials ignoring the weather and pushing these concerts to go on when they should cancel them sooner? Or are some stages being poorly engineered, constructed or set up? If so, I hope better solutions are found.

  • eapbraids

    Well I live in OH, but severe thunderstorms with high winds aren’t uncommon this time of year. I know a lot of state/local fairs around here have indoor venues anymore. (I distinctly remember one windstorm in 08 that cancelled an outdoor festival)

    That video is really scary.

  • caroleinfla

    This is just terrible. I’ve heard of stages collapsing before. I think they should ban those type stages and have to build real stages.
    This could have been anyone of us too. How many of us have gone to an outdoor concert with these type stages? If I ever go again, I sure won’t sit close to the stage.

  • tripp_ncwy

    Kris also weighs in early this morning.

    KrisAllen
    Horrible what happened at the Indy State Fair. Praying for the families of the people that lost their loved ones.

  • hglightly53

    Kris Allen and Keith Urban played there just about one year ago (8/14/10). I wonder if it gets this windy there at this time of the year, ever year?

    Weather in Indy in August is hot and muggy. We would love to have a little breeze at the State Fair but not this. The wind gusted as high as 70 mph. I was at the Kris Allen/Keith Urban concert a year ago sitting in the second row from the stage — so sad for the families that lost loved ones — frightening for everyone that was there.

    eta: Indiana State Fair cancelled today.

  • luly

    This is so terrible :(.

  • rodgers12

    I just watched a new video wow i’m speechless…
    Prayers for everyone at the concert.

  • car3278sweet

    Wow. After watching the video I’m surprised more weren’t killed. My prayers to all the families affected.

    Wind gusts like this are not that unusual in the Midwest. Just about a month ago a storm came thru Minnesota- where my family lives. Wind gusts took down a whole patch of 20 feet tall trees just a mile from my mom’s house. She said it was the weirdest thing – nothing around the trees was damaged. It wasn’t a tornado either.

  • sagi

    snapcracklypop says:
    08/14/2011 at 4:53 am

    New video, you can see clearly how it went down D: http://www.soundspike.com/news/article/2737-indiana-state-fair-news-new-video-shows-indiana-stage-collapse-gave-no-visible-warning/

    Oh that was so disturbing to watch. I cried :( you could see the people disappear underneath it. I am horrified.
    One summer here, we had a terrible storm with hurricane force winds. It ripped down trees in many sections of town, ripped off roof tops, trees smashing down on houses and cars, tearing down power lines. It looked like a tornado went through, but it was straight line winds. Driving around the next day all you could see were downed trees, smashed in homes, power lines and trees across roads. But the beautiful thing was how the whole town, neighbors of neighbors, pitched in helping wherever they could. It took 5 days for me to get my power back. Luckily there were no casualties! There was no shortage of firewood that year, that is for sure.

  • Pam

    I just saw the tube vid posted at the top. Just wow. That is just awful. My thoughts and prayers go out to the injured and those that lost loved ones.

  • sagi

    oops, that went to moderation, don’t know what I said, didn’t mean no harm, delete if not within guidelines, please.

  • jinxx315

    My jaw dropped when I saw the footage. I can’t imagine if Sugarland was on stage performing and this happened. Crazy.

  • artemis

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sugarland-concert-stage-collapses-an-222866

    Sugarland delayed going onstage-if they’d kept to their schedule they’d have been on the stage when it collapsed.
    Just read the death toll has risen to five.

    ETA First link I typed wasn’t working-click on link, then click on “Sugarland Concert Stage Collapse: An Eyewitness Report . That article also has a link to a story from last week, when part of the rigging blew down while The Flaming Lips were onstage in Oklahoma.

  • falafel

    Oh my God, how awful. Those poor people.

    Kristen: Is it just a freak coincidence or are stage collapses a fairly frequent occurrence? Or are officials ignoring the weather and pushing these concerts to go on when they should cancel them sooner? Or are some stages being poorly engineered, constructed or set up? If so, I hope better solutions are found.

    I wouldn’t say they’re frequent, but they’re not irregular. I’d heard of the following, but if you click on the Related Videos on some of those YouTube links, there are more:

    Pontiac, MI 2007
    Soulclipse Festival 2008
    Edmonton 2009
    Superbowl 2010
    Marseilles 2009
    Concho, OK 2010
    Pictures from before an Aguilera/Timberlake concert 2008

    The amount of indoor stage collapses, or collapses that not accompanied by winds or inclement weather, suggests that this is an industry that might be in need of some regulation.

  • kmd

    This is all so tragic.

  • Incipit

    The amount of indoor stage collapses, or collapses that not accompanied by winds or inclement weather, suggests that this is an industry that might be in need of some regulation.

    falafel, I just heard that the authorities are looking into the contractors who built the temporary stage, it’s being covered even on my Weather Channel. From your list, it seems you have a valid point.

    60 to 70MPH wind gusts are not usual, although they do happen…but what about the other instances? The sidebar on the youtube page w/your picture link is stacked w/other stage collapses and truss failures.

  • tripp_ncwy

    A 5th person has died this morning as a result of the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse.

  • TwigLA

    I learned of this via Kris Allen’s Facebook (we’re ‘friends’). This is what he posted.

    Kris Allen
    Horrible what happened at the Indy State Fair. Praying for the families of the people that lost their loved ones.

    My heart goes out to the families of those who died, as well as to all who were injured or traumatized by this tragic accident.

  • Tera

    Kris Allen says:
    “Horrible what happened at the Indy State Fair. Praying for the families of the people that lost their loved ones.”

  • BootStar

    What a nightmare. “Temporary” anything is likely not built to withstand that kind of weather.

    According to the AP, it was mostly the fans in the VIP section who bore the brunt of the collapse:

    Hundreds of concert-goers rushed afterward amid the chaos to tend to the injured, many trying to lift heavy beams, lights and other equipment that blew down onto the crowd. Many of the injured were in the VIP section closest to the stage. Emergency crews set up a triage center in a tunnel below the grandstand at the Indianapolis fairgrounds.

    Stage Collapses at Indiana State Fair; at Least 5 Dead

  • Eileen99

    This is just awful. In that new video, you can really see how horrible the weather is before the collapse. This is so tragic, so sorry for all those affected.

  • Falfor

    My prayers go out for all those affected by this horrible accident. I am proud for all those who ran forward to help when this occurred.

  • dy77

    This is just so horrible. Thought of my friends who went to that Keith/Kris show last year. The tweets from various musicians and bands are very powerful – it really is a “but there before the grace of god go I” situation – no forewarning besides a thunderstorm 20 miles away. Apparently they had just told the crowd they might have to end the Sugarland show early, so they were monitoring that storm, but it was a freak wind burst. Thoughts and prayers for all affected.

  • tripp_ncwy

    Another video shows the aftermath after the stage collapse and the rescue effort; http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2QFz7K5JFP4

  • goboywonder

    Wow. Prayers and condolences… :(

  • ri

    this is heartbreaking. my prayers are with everyone involved.

  • archiedoll

    I heard about this last night while talking to other Archie fans. I just…omg. We really can’t afford to take life for granted, ya know? We have no idea what will happen from one minute to the next.

    Those videos are just terrifying. All those people, the pandemonium, the screams…I do know from experience that storms can come up in the blink of an eye & be very unpredictable, but maybe instead of saying “Here’s where to go if we evacuate”, they should’ve just evacuated then.

    And it bothers me that we’re so fascinated with tragedy that as soon as we know there are casualties, we’re looking for video. I do it, too. As soon as I heard, I went straight to the TV and youtube. It’s sad that human beings are wired that way.

  • mzbet

    I was at the Summer Daze outdoor concert in AR last year that Kris Allen was headlining. It was blazing hot, and then not long before Kris was up, we started seeing clouds moving in and rain/lightening in the distance. I remember thinking at that time, I sure would not want to be on that stage with all the metal scaffolding and electricity. It never came to mind to worry about a collapse of the stage due to wind. Of course it was not the scale of stage as Sugarlands, but the stage crew was climbing those scaffolds putting covers over the speakers when it started sprinkling rain.

    My heart goes out to the family and friends of those killed and injured. Something that was supposed to be a fun evening gone horribly wrong.

  • cookcricket

    60 to 70MPH wind gusts are not usual, although they do happen…but what about the other instances? The sidebar on the youtube page w/your picture link is stacked w/other stage collapses and truss failures.

    We had two large trees fall in our backyard 3 yrs. ago due to strong straight line winds. Wind has scared me ever since this happened. My friend & I went to the KU/KA concert at the Indy State Fair last year and she just told me this morning that she had considered going to the Sugarland concert. The horror of this has hit her as both a performer and a concert goer.

    My thoughts and prayers go to the families of those who have lost loved ones as well as to those injured.

  • tripp_ncwy

    THR: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sugarland-stage-collapse-death-toll-222933

    More fatalities possible. Hopefully it won’t get any worse.

  • steph6449

    Set of photos showing the event pretty clearly

    http://askjimmycarter.blogspot.com/2011/08/ernie-mills-caught-this-sequenceequally.html

    That second video is pretty powerful.

  • ross

    And it bothers me that we’re so fascinated with tragedy that as soon as we know there are casualties, we’re looking for video. I do it, too. As soon as I heard, I went straight to the TV and youtube. It’s sad that human beings are wired that way.

    Knowing there were casualties has nothing to do with it, really. My curiosity to see the video would have been the same if no one had been killed, or hurt. I don’t feel that’s the reason. If a structure like this collapses, of course anyone would be curious to see for themselves how it happened. That’s all.

  • windmills

    Well I couldn’t make myself watch the video. Call it avoidance, call it what you want.

    My heartfelt prayers go out to everybody affected.

  • Suzanne

    60 to 70 mph winds are so overwhelming. Must have been horrifying to be there.

  • Tess

    If I remember my basic psychology classes the reason there is apparently a great deal of fascination with tragedy is that people can watch and then, even though they are feeling sad and compassionate, they can breath a sigh of relief knowing it didn’t affect them personally and so life is still good.

    We need to be reminded by the bad, tough, and hard things in life that our lives aren’t as awful as we sometimes feel they are…that our misfortunes are minor to tragedies where life and property is lost. If we ignored the big tragic events completely we would become pretty wrapped up in ourselves and that isn’t really healthy.

    Besides, being aware of tragedies is a learning experience. Whether it makes us more cautious or helps us acknowledge our surroundings more, the end result of dealing with tragedy is that many of us know what to look for the second time around.

    ETA…as an Architect with some structural engineering background looking at the stage set-up it is readily apparent that the whole thing was a disaster waiting to happen. Heads will roll with this one, I’m sure, because all of this was readily avoidable.

  • Trina

    I cant watch the videos. I’m just reading the story and saw the pictures, that was enough. Cant take these senseless tragedies anymore :( I’ll say this, last month when a Daughtry show was cancelled due to severe weather conditions there were a bunch of pissed off fans and Chris had to explain it wasnt his fault. I pray more people use some common sense in the future when concerts need to be cancelled due to weather.

  • happyhexer

    Is it just a freak coincidence or are stage collapses a fairly frequent occurrence? Or are officials ignoring the weather and pushing these concerts to go on when they should cancel them sooner? Or are some stages being poorly engineered, constructed or set up? If so, I hope better solutions are found.

    These are valid questions, to which we need the answers.

    I watched one video because I was curious how the stage had collapsed, since I had read about another stage collapse not that long ago. I don’t remember much about the other event, except that a band was playing onstage when the stage buckled. The band wasn’t hurt, and I don’t recall there being any deaths or serious injuries. But it wasn’t at all very long ago when that happened.

    As for Windmills, Trina, and anyone else refusing to watch the video, I applaud you. You don’t need to watch; it was bad, and that’s all you need to know.

    BTW, Danny just played at the Indiana State Fair a few days ago, although not on that stage.

    And I was at Summerfest recently, and never even paid attention to whether the Briggs & Stratton stage was a permanent or temporary structure. I think the former, but I’m not sure. I will certainly pay more attention to the stage at any future concert I attend.

  • iluvai

    “There are no words. It is tragic.”

    Very true. My heart goes out to the families.

  • archiedoll

    Knowing there were casualties has nothing to do with it, really. My curiosity to see the video would have been the same if no one had been killed, or hurt. I don’t feel that’s the reason. If a structure like this collapses, of course anyone would be curious to see for themselves how it happened. That’s all.

    If I remember my basic psychology classes the reason there is apparently a great deal of fascination with tragedy is that people can watch and then, even though they are feeling sad and compassionate, they can breath a sigh of relief knowing it didn’t affect them personally and so life is still good

    Those are good points to consider. I think this hits home for me- probably like most people here- because if this would’ve been one of David’s concerts, I would’ve been in the front rows that were smooshed…I feel really bad for the families of these folks. I’m sure that ppl will be looking for someone/something to blame, but idk if there is anything…

  • Reflections On Life

    ETA…as an Architect with some structural engineering background looking at the stage set-up it is readily apparent that the whole thing was a disaster waiting to happen. Heads will roll with this one, I’m sure, because all of this was readily avoidable.

    I really hope so. This really makes me angry.

  • mandabutter

    So devastating. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. The news reports and first hand accounts from witnesses were tragic enough…but that 2nd video is heartbreaking. Did they clear the right hand section first? All those seats were empty.

    I know of micro bursts like that. We had a tornado in the town over in 2001 that brought a straight-line wind and uprooted a 50yr old tree in our front yard. Scary.
    Rascal Flatts had a stage setup like this one at an outdoor concert (coastal Florida) I attended last year. We drove thru a thunderstorm getting there, I was sweating bullets waiting for the show to start. We were in the 2nd row and nothing happened. It was nothing short of a miracle.

  • mandabutter

    Kirsten says:
    08/14/2011 at 5:49 am
    How terrible,

    A stage collapsed in Ottawa last month after a gust of wind. Officials said at the time that it was a freak accident and I believed them because I didn’t recall it ever happening before. Now this happens.

    Is it just a freak coincidence or are stage collapses a fairly frequent occurrence? Or are officials ignoring the weather and pushing these concerts to go on when they should cancel them sooner? Or are some stages being poorly engineered, constructed or set up? If so, I hope better solutions are found.

    I agree. Though more regulations for temporary setups would probably make it tougher for lesser established acts and the promoters, which would trickle down to ticket buyers/fans. IDK. Safety comes first, mother nature is fickle, all valid points.

    As for how frequent (or not) it is. This is the second incident in 2.5 years I’ve heard about. There was a Canadian show (2009 or 2010) where Billy Currington played and a fan died onstage from rigging that was blown down. Country act Billy also received facial injuries.

  • Kirsten

    Though more regulations for temporary setups would probably make it tougher for lesser established acts and the promoters, which would trickle down to ticket buyers/fans. IDK. Safety comes first, mother nature is fickle, all valid points.

    They can’t have stages falling all over people at concerts. It’s supposed to be fun, not deadly. They may have to go with simpler staging if it’s too costly to make stages that won’t fall on people.

    I was suprised to hear how many times this does happen (stages falling on people). The scaffolding is scary enough, but those massive speakers are terrifying. Some of those are extremely heavy and they were way up in the rigging. That was pretty top heavy arrangement there.

    I know some people are reluctant to watch the videos, but I’m very glad that there is footage of it. That kind of stuff is extremely useful for figuring out exactly what happened, so that they can better engineer a solution.

    Also, I think it’s informative for people going to these concerts. Don’t trust your life to some clueless fair organizer who models themselves after the mayor from Jaws. I hadn’t really ever thought about the scaffolding falling on people (I didn’t pay attention to the Ottawa accident and thought the actual platform had collapsed. Just set the barriers back the height of the platform…). I’m sure some who heard about the Sugarland accident just thought “Oh, I would have run faster. Why did they just sit there?” Now, you can see they didn’t have time to run anywhere (especially since it was a crowd and you can’t run faster than the wall of people in front of you). After seeing that, if the wind picks up, I’m moving out of the fall zone before the clueless fair runner tells me to. A 60 mph wind isn’t all that rare so those set-ups should be designed to survive that.

    I would not be surprised if that large fin at the top of the stage was a contributor to this accident. Although the structure itself is necessary to support the rest of the rigging, the solid panels appear to be decorative. It would act as a sail when hit sideways by the wind and cause the scaffolding to twist. Columns don’t generally handle twisting very well. If the panels weren’t there or were lattice like the rest of the scaffolding, that might be one small improvement that would cost very little. Solid walls as opposed to lattice girders are what brought down the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Of course, there are a lot of things that probably went wrong that day and the accident investigators will sort it out. I’m just commenting on this because there are some improvements that could probably be made that would make things safer and not necessarily be too expensive.

  • sr4mjc

    I just watched the videos. How horrific. Thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

  • tomk

    One of the things that is interesting to me is that (seemingly) there wasn’t very much (if any) damage anywhere else on the fairgrounds. Seems that one violent gust of wind hit in the worst possible spot. Freakish, indeed.
    Which is not to excuse the designers – especially when you have heard of other stages falling recently. At the same time, is it reasonable to ask that the structure be able to withstand a hurricane-force straight-line wind? I guess given what happened, the answer would be yes.
    I am surprised there weren’t more deaths – yes, one death is one too many. But that seemed to be quite a large structure falling into a heavily-populated area of the fairgrounds. My only guess is that some people saw the risk of bad weather coming and headed for cover before the stage was hit.