Probe underway into Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed 5
A stage collapsed during a storm Saturday night at the Indiana State Fair's Sugarland concert.
August 14th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Probe underway into Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed 5

Update: Sunday 11:28 a.m. ET

At least five people were killed Saturday night at the Indiana State Fair when a massive wind tore down a concert stage, authorities said. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels described the collapse as a "freakish accident." Watch an iReport shot by someone who captured the stage collapsing.

"You could see a lot of people panicking," said Aaron Richman, who witnessed the incident in Indiapolis. Deafening screams were heard over the crumbling of the main concert stage. "All the scaffolding and speakers - all that came crashing down - and the whole stand just collapsed."

Allison Hoehn said many in the crowd rushed to try to help people trapped under the debris.  "We tried to get down to help, but no one was moving," she said. "The storm came on so fast and the stage just snapped like a toothpick."

Spectators grabbed parts of their seats to assemble makeshift stretchers, Hoehn said. "Everyone rushed to help, and we saw people searching and pulling people out," she said. "(I) saw five people go away on stretchers. It was amazing how many people ran in to try to lift the scaffolding."

As crews sifted through the rubble late into Saturday, on Sunday Indiana State Police Sgt. Dave Bursten reported that in addition to the fatalities, at least 40 were injured.

"It's a very sad day at the state fair and our hearts are really breaking," said Cindy Hoye, the fair's executive director. 

Investigators are trying to figure out the cause of the collapse. A stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed Saturday. At least a dozen were hurt, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

The country music duo Sugarland, who was slated to appear on stage Saturday, tweeted that they were okay: "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."

A witness told CNN that inclement weather played a part in the incident, which was posted on Youtube.

"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," Aaron Richmann said.

Video from CNN affiliate WTHR showed flashing lights and emergency vehicles on the scene.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for central Indiana Saturday evening. “Thunderstorms may be severe with damaging winds and large hail as the main threats,” the weather service said. “The storms will also produce dangerous lightning and brief heavy rainfall.”

The weather service said thunderstorms were possible for the area Sunday.

Read the complete story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Indiana • U.S.
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. HIH

    What numb-nuts built that stage, scaffolding like that does not just blow over with wind gust

    August 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • hdsjkykau

      This stage has been around for at lest 20 years...

      August 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jan

      Probably the same company that made the staging for Cheap Trick that collapsed during winds in Ottawa Canada in July of this yr! Safety needs to be ensured

      August 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betsy

      Get your facts straight. It was a lot more than "just a gust of wind." The place was already being evacuated, and there was someone on stage announcing that the show might have to be cancelled because of bad weather headed that way when the wind hit just prior to heavy rainstorm.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • vballer14

      It wasn't just a "gust of wind". Have you seen the video? It's hard to believe any stage that size could withstand wind at that speed. Especially in what seems to be a wide open area.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. calamb01

    4 people have died. confirmed by officials.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    You are a sick person.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dgkdgk

    Sorry ... Americans are caring about Americans at this very moment. We care about others, but we also need to worry for our own.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Amazed

    at how stupid a response you have to this trajedy!

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. what_ever

    Yeah, Michele Bachmann might've been a victim.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JBHedgehog

    Seriously, Troll...please depart. You are a dunce.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anthony

    Wow, that just sucks...go to a concert to enjoy yourself, then have a stage fall, possibly on you...yikes...

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      People really need to start looking out for themselves, being proactive, doing some basic research and sharpening up those decision making skills.
      Not every situation can be predicted, but these weather provoked incidents......

      -a severe thunderstorm / flash flood / tornado watch DURING Jazz Fest 09 could have been high casualty, but planners hated to cancel if the storm passed -well, it sat right over those fairgrounds and 1,000s of people.

      -Dallas Cowboys training during windstorm took down their practice facility.

      -how many sporting events / military training etc have resulting in deaths (and these are young, healthy youths, usually) b/c people ignored high heat index?

      $$$$$$$$$ = No common sense anymore?

      It is difficult to plan outdoor events. (How does one re-book all the Jazz Fest Talents? Fly back the following weekend?) But 'On with the show' -no matter what??
      Maybe insurance for cancellations factored in so there are no big losers when we need to practice good old fashioned flexibility and 'safety first.'

      August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Seriously

    Insensitive a**hole

    August 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chris emmons

    People are dying all over the world, not just china! And its not minor injuries, there are deaths. Does that make you freaking happy??? Damn moron!

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wayne

    Have some respect! This has nothing to do with the GOP. Take that gripe somewhere else...

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bruce

    You're an idiot, keep your ignorant opinion to yourself. Take your ass to china then.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dgkdgk

    My thoughts are with these poor people who have been hurt or killed, as well as with their families and all affected by this tragedy.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jan

      Cheap Trick has a very similar situation happen to them in July in Ottawa Canada. Luckily no one was killed then. Like to know why precautions aren't being taking to ensure safety of all at these concerts outside? Doesn't anyone monitor the weather? I know storms can "bloom" in a hurry, but there was a weather report yesterday that warned of possible severe weather in that area. Something must be done. Apparently the staging equipment isn't being secured for winds. Something must be done to ensure safety NOW.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Just Me

    Sad news. My condolene to the families of those who have died, and I trust those injured will recover in the shortest possible time. Life is so unpredictable nowadays. Today you are here; today you are gone. Live life to the fullest all. You never know if today might be your last.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bart Taylor

    Thoughts and prayers to all fans, friends and family.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
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