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Chaos after deadly stage collapse at Indiana fair

August 13, 2011 |  9:59 pm

Chaos and fear filled the air moments after a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair, killing at least four people and sending about 40 others to hospitals.

Some people ran for the exits. Some rushed the stage. All looked around for friends or family members in a desperate scramble to make sure they were safe.

An Indiana State Police spokesman said that those hospitalized suffered a range of injuries from minor to critical. Local hospitals had set up triage and family reunification rooms. 

At least one of the injured is a 7-year-old boy, according to local media reports. As seen in the photo here, Indianapolis Fire Department personnel and paramedics tended to the victims near the scene of the collapse.

Photos: Deadly stage collapse

Concertgoers had expected to put up with bad weather to see the popular country group Sugarland. But as the performance drew closer, an oncoming thunderstorm worsened. According to witnesses, an announcer reviewed evacuation procedures for the audience in case the need arose.

Then the winds picked up and roared over the fairgrounds, stirring a massive cloud of dust. The grandstands started to shake. A violent gust hit the stage and in an instant the scaffolding and rigging collapsed on the crowd.

"All of a sudden, the sky got black and here comes this wind and the stage came down," concertgoer Emily Davis told TV station WTHR, which had reporters swarming the story at the fairgrounds and at hospitals.


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-- Rene Lynch and Stephanie Chavez

Photo: Indianapolis Fire Department personnel and paramedics tend to the victims of a stage collapse before a concert at the Indiana State Fair Grandstands. (AP Photo /The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger)