High winds collapse building at Florida aviation fair, police say
High winds in Lakeland, Florida, collapsed a tent and tossed an airplane into a ditch Thursday.
March 31st, 2011
01:58 PM ET

High winds collapse building at Florida aviation fair, police say

[Updated at 1:58 p.m.] A photo on the website of Bay News 9 showed an overturned airplane at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport. The affiliate also broadcast images of damaged street signs and billboards as high winds swept through much of the region.

In Lakeland, Sgt. Terri Smith said earlier reports that 70 people were trapped after a building collapsed at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport are false.

A heavy storm with strong winds hit the Sun 'n' Fun Aviation Fair at the airport, Smith said, causing "extensive minor damage and reports of minor injuries," but "all persons so far have been accounted for."

[Posted at 12:21 p.m.] Severe weather tore across central Florida on Thursday, trapping about 70 people at an airport in Lakeland, and spawning an apparent tornado in Tampa, the National Weather Service said.

Approximately 70 people were reported trapped in a collapsed building at the Sun 'n' Fun Aviation Fair at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida due to severe winds, the weather service said.

In Tampa, meanwhile, an apparent tornado touched down in Hillsborough County, parts of which were under a tornado warning that the weather service issued at 11:51 a.m. The warning covered parts of Hillsborough as well as parts of Polk County.

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Filed under: Florida • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I hope that their was no lose of live or major damage to any buildings.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • GARY

      Have another beer...it's five o'clock somewhere

      March 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earna Livingston

      One of the tornado hit a trailer park and did hundreds of dollars worth of damage.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig Pflaum, Bartow, Florida

      Did you mean loss of life?

      March 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • engrish major

      it's "loss" mikey boy

      March 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    I am overwhelmed with the amount of info in this story!

    March 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • dean

      that's what you get with instant news–it just happened–they put it out before they even have any info. rush to be first.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • engrish major

      I saw a story on the local news last night where the reporter prefaced her report by saying...."I just saw online that...blah blah blah." nice reporting. Pulitzer on the way baby!

      March 31, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Randy

    Well at least y'all aren't making up details anymore. That's the shortest news story I've ever seen on the front page!

    March 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • shanney

      yah right there is one shorter.Check out the 6.3 earthquake it is wwwaaayyy shorter?!

      March 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don Sprouse

    One hit in Tampa and right here where I live in the Largo area we had one touch down.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • purgatory princess

      One hit over in the Eastpoint/Carrabelle area as well.

      March 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    Tornado season rules.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Linda

    A single sentence news story WOW! A little more info please.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      Seriously Linda? Would you prefer that they print the story BEFORE THEY HAVE THE FACTS?!

      March 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jamie

    Any information on what building or ever remotely where it is?

    March 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • michaelfury

      Ask CNN if wind collapsed this building:

      http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/critical-mass/

      April 1, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    I saw the tornado. It actually touched down but only briefly. There was another tornado in the sky forming next to it.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      So there was a funnel next to the one that actually became a tornado?

      March 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Darryl

    Just a minor adjustment here: It is the Peninsula of St. Petersburg, and it's Howard-Franklin Bridge...

    Thanks!

    March 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuestColin

      It's the "Howard Frankland Bridge". I drive it every day. Also, it's a complete mess here near the Airport. Typical flooding problems and the usual idiot drivers. They can't drive when it's sunny out, let alone when it's raining...

      March 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Perfect Timing

    It's a preliminary report. Hence the brevity. Do you expect a 9 page expose with interviews and full coverage when this happened less than 20 minutes ago...? Reality, people.. Look into it.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kristin

    So why would someone go to an air show when they have been showing this storm line on the news every 5 mins since 5am? Common sense people.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • BirdDog63

      EAA Sun-N-Fun is an event where LOTS of people from all over the country fly and drive into days in advance – some stay the entire week. They've got nowhere to go, especially those who flew in – weather gets bad quickly – can't leave.

      March 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoAnna

      Well, the airshow has been going on all week. My dad and his friend left from Jax, FL this morning to head down...it's a BIG deal. People come from all over the world to attend it. I am sure the people were in the building trying to shelter from the storm. So, I think those people were trying to use common sense to get out of the weather.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      It's not just an air show, it is an event where aviation enthusiasts go to look at what is new in the aviation industry, they have exhibits and you can purchase items there.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jen

      Some of the people there are working. They have no choice, have to go to work rain or shine.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristin

      So hiding from a storm is common sense? Storms do kick up fast in Florida, this one was not the case. It's sad to hear people where hurt, hope they heal quickly.

      March 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristin

      That would be hiding from a storm in a tent... Thank you iPhone for self editing.

      March 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Travis Holmes

    i lived here in Florida for 24 yrs and this is the worse year for me so far. I hope everyone is alright from these tornadoes

    March 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • shanney

      yah i hpe there okay

      March 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    Common sense? Apparently, you don't realize that thousands have been camping there all week for that show from all over the country.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. planegirl

    Ok, so......
    I love all of the details provided in this story. Come on CNN.....but I have to give kudos to you for not making things up.

    We do have a team there from the company that I work for and our team is ok...we just received a call from them. There were multiple planes tossed around like toys that were parked and as far as we know there were no passengers inside. Sun 'n' Fun staff did a great job getting everyone out of harms way the best that they could moving everyone inside and closing hangar doors. Unfortunately, one building did collapse trapping approximately 70 people as mentioned in the CNN article above. I just pray everyone is ok.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Just spoke with my Dad who was at the airport for Sun and Fun. He reports lots of damage to many airplanes and most of the tents blown down. Didn't know about the building collapse.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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