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.

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

    Really?! People could be hurt or dead and you crack jokes? Boy you have the worst timing jerk..

    August 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 333

    made in usa

    August 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LMAO

    Its truly amazing how serious people get when tragedy strikes America but when Americans do their CRAP ,ie Kill several Thousand Iraqis , we some how feel justified

    You people in a very odd way get what you deserve, if G_d is in control and you have MURDERED innocence (Iraq) well you can not escape your just punishment.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      What is a g_d?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • dgkdgk

      STFU, you fncking idiot!

      August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuessWho?

      I see where you're getting at, but not all of them were innocent... such as a few people called the Al Qaeda?
      Am I saying I am proud of what we did? NO! I wish there was another option.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hoopla

    You are clearly a troll. Get the hell off the computer. Now. This isn't funny at all. Deaths were reported.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. realityhurts

    On the bright side we have fewer people listening to crap country music.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wolfe

    Very sad what happen.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HaaHaa

    Even Mother Nature thinks Sugarland sucks.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    Must've been caused by all the fried butter or other fried products.

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

      That's what I say , stay away from the fried Twinkies, fried butter, fried corn-dogs...have you Mid-Westerners and Southerns see you big FAT asses , lately !!

      Damn, I mean instead of pray away the gay, you SOB's need the pray away the FAT ..LOL

      August 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jsaclt81

    The AP's reporting deaths, but CNN would say so until they confirm it.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Seattle Sue

    Was this stage inspected or has State Government cut back on inspections? Sorry to be so critical but I remember a bridge that went down in Minnesota that was not inspected and about 13 people died. This happen under Tim Pawlenty's watch, but what's a few lives when you can be conservative and save money.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      You have to be the stupidest person to ever draw a breath!!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven S


      you do not know what you are talking about in regards to the bridge in MN. December 2006, a steel reinforcement project was planned for the bridge. However, the project was canceled in January 2007 in favor of periodic safety inspections, after it was revealed that drilling for the retrofitting would in fact weaken the bridge.

      When the bridge collapsed it was having work done in it and had a extra 575,000 pounds of construction supplies and equipment on the bridge.

      On November 13, 2008, the NTSB released the findings of its investigation. The primary cause was the under-sized gusset plates, at 0.5 inches thick. Contributing to that design or construction error was the fact that 2 inches of concrete were added to the road surface over the years, increasing the dead load by 20%. Also contributing was the xtraordinary weight of construction equipment and material resting on the bridge just above its weakest point at the time of the collapse. That load was estimated at 578,000 pounds (262,000 kg) consisting of sand, water, and vehicles. The NTSB determined that corrosion was not a significant factor.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mavsfan93

    Why would they have the concert if the weather forecast said that there would be thunderstorms with high winds? Very stupid move and if anyone died, it coulda been avoided.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kourtnie

      First of all, I live in Indianapolis and was at work only ten minutes away from this when it happened. I can honestly tell you that, yes, we had a 60% chance of storms, but no one predicted it would be this severe and in Indiana, a 60% chance of precip. usually means we're going to have a five minute storm around six p.m. I've lived here my entire life and never, ever seen a thunderstorm happen like this. I work at a hotel and was taken aback because suddenly, within seconds, we had a catastrophic thunderstorm complete with lightning hitting one of our light poles and our power going out twice with absolutely no warning. We held this event because we had no warning. This was a horrific, disgusting tragedy that none of us could have possibly forseen. We go out in this type of weather all the time–we had a thunderstorm just two days ago for five minutes with the same chance of precipitation that caused absolutely no damage. Stop, think, and don't blame the victims. They couldn't have known this would happen. I'm heartbroken by this and I wasn't there. Thankfully, neither was any of my loved ones. But just as a resident of Indianapolis, I'm disgusted by the fact that you think we were ignorant for holding an event when we know our weather much better than you do. I hope you still have this optimism when your home is destroyed by a fire and hope you think, "Oh, it's the cities fault, they should have known this grass was a fire hazard." Otherwise, you're just ignorant.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raevyn

      The answer is

      August 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      Kourtnie, it's a fair question, so TY for the insider info.
      Touch calls re weather predictions and events ($$) are often made in the wrong direction. (see my post below, re Jazz Fest 09)
      Sometimes these things just happen.
      Sometimes canceling a race during a Heat Wave, not holding a Dallas Cowboy's training meet in a 2 bit aluminum hut during severe winds is the only way to ensure safety.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      -and condolences to their loved ones

      August 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Roy

    As usual, CNN is sucking it up. 10 dead...not just injuries. Shaping up to be a bad situation.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. worried

    Very insensitive comments. Ppl here are historical. Cell services is bad there right now. So no one know if their loved ones are ok. People are saying there was blood every where. Mass chaos & emergency services had trouble getting to the injured. We had 80 mph winds. A bad storm. My question?? Why where those people allowed to stay outside w/ that kind weather coming there way???

    August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Historical? They are in the past?

      August 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rodney

    As a stagehand for 15 years I have to ask When is public safety going to become the priority over money. Common sense tells us to 1. Check the weather report before building the stage and roof, 2. Follow strict safety guidelines when it comes to the hundreds of pounds of weight we hang on the front of these stages. 3. Tie the damn thing down to something like I don't know SOLID. Over the past few years stage after stage like this one have fallen and perhaps it is a sign for promoters to WAKE up and perhaps post pone an event as well as pass laws to have these stages either banned from use or fully inspected by a codes office before an event is allowed to go on.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Judi

    I had friends at the concert tonight. I have heard from them that they are safe but they tell me the whole situation was tragic. Please pray for all the victims...we need your prayers not your jokes.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      Talking to your imaginary friend will accomplish nothing at all.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Stop with the God stuff.
      God is make-believe.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
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