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. LMAO

    dgkdgk if you where here I would kick your ass in front of your children , just to humiliate you and traumatize them.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    People that make snide little remarks about things like this are usually people who have not experienced the terror of impending death. It's a white hot panic that I doubt they would want to laugh about afterwards. So, in essence, they are in for QUITE a shock when their bell tolls.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christopher

    Thunderstorms + tall, weakly anchored building with poorly strapped down tarps for a roof that turn into sails in a wind storm = disaster waiting to happen.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LMAO

    GuessWho? The Iraqis are ALL innocent , they did not do 911.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nope was Saudis.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. realityhurts

    Country music is so awful even mother nature agrees.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allyson least 4 innocent people lost their lives tonight, with many others seriously injured, and you think now is an appropriate time for a joke? Instead of putting effort in to coming up with quick "one-liners", have some courtesy and sympathy for the victims and their families...and be grateful you are able to live another day

      August 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. julie

    The weather was not that bad tonight, the wind gusts came out of nowhere unexpectedly. I was at another concert just north of the State Fair that also got cancelled partway into the show, and we did not get those big winds, probably 15 miles north. They put out a warning at the concert that they would be moving people across into the Pepsi Coliseum while the storm passed through, but the wind gusts came before the storm. I don't think this was anyone's fault, it was just a freak of nature type of incident.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    This is a horrible unforeseen accident and my heart goes out to the families hurt but honestly God had nothing to do with it and God will not be able to help because God is not real. It should be looked into as a bad design or bad engineering. It may have ben a bad choice to not cancel the show but how would a cancellation been implemented and turn out?

    August 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    The real irony will be if someone writes a country song about this...

    August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dustin Shadbolt

    My heart goes out to those hurt by this accident. Most people don't understand how the weather works here. I'm from Indy and trust me one minute it can be sunny and bone dry and boom it's a tornado. I've seen it rain on one street and not another. For you to sit on an internet board and just run your mouth is really stupid. What would happen if this happened to you? Just sitting there and you're dead the next minute or seriously injured. Learn to be a human and show some freaking compassion.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      I think what your angry about are the people who think God is not real yet still are sad and have compassion for the hurt.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kait

      The only watches were out for thunderstorms. Severe, yes. But while Sara Bareilles was on for a good 45 minutes the clouds were typical rain clouds until the last 5 minutes before this tragedy. The guy at the microphone said if there were storms to go to the buildings across from the Grandstand and that they would try to resume the show and wait out the storm. Clearly no one had this in mind when not 5 minutes later, thankfully 30 seconds after getting out of our seats and heading to concessions already, we see the stage collapse and dust funnels coming at us. I ran across the path to get inside and my feet came off the ground for a second, trying to pull me. Do not insult anyone, some people do not have to believe in God simply because they have a right. This is coming from someone who grew up going to church. That was absolutely terrifying for me. The only sign there was anything wrong was just the wall cloud in the last 10 minutes that they had obviously delayed for the band. The wind was no more than 10-15 before this minute. Not a huge gust or any rain, just lightning in the far distance and the pitch black within minutes – I took pictures and there is a huge difference within the 20-30 minutes that the wall cloud had formed. No one could have predicted this, let's leave our thoughts and prayers, and as Sara Bareilles said "hatever form of strength you are able to send" and keep anything else out of it other than the well-being of innocent fans and fair-goers.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. karley

    Ok to the dude that said funny but said, u have a sick sense of humor. That's just sad and devastating.and honestly I'm not a beliver either but they should have cancelled ppl would have understood.good luck to all injured and r.I.p to all deceased. To family of deceased our hearts go out to u.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J

    Go god go!
    Your so awesome yet so unreal and a joke.
    I love Indiana/my home but unfortunately there are a lot of people that like to make the state look like a bunch of people who are into fantasies and ridiculousness.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Right Wing Thugsta Killa

    Hysterical? Historical? SAME THING.. must have been a typo that someone's phone auto corrected.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      They are not the same thing. Historical refers to something in the in "history". Hysterical means frantic.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right Wing Thugsta Killa

      @Nope: It was a joke relax guy/girl.
      @J: You sound like you're trying to convince yourself more than others are trying to convince you. I believe, but if you can be a decent person without it more power to you. Like it or not we all need guidance. Without man made laws our society would be chaos. People would have no measure of right or wrong, so if someone needs God for guidance then that's fine as long as they can actually follow all the rules they preach themselves. How many christians hunt, yet it says thou shalt not kill? There's lots of hypocrisy out there.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mad Hatter

    So sad. Condolences to the deceased and the injured. Upon reading the comments there are some horrible people here. Wow!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Right Wing Thugsta Killa

    @Joe: You keep trying to convince people. Let it go buddy. Praying or hoping for the best when you're an outside observer doesn't hurt, so why do you care? I hope nobody gets seriously hurt when I see a bad car accident and that is very similar to praying. Why doesn't your righteous atheist self take your talents to the scene and physically help if we're here all alone? Doing some heavy lifting yourself will do more than praying according to you.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. ervserver

    lawsuits will be filed by sunrise

    August 14, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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