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Five dead, dozens injured after staging collapses at Indiana State Fair
INDIANAPOLIS (WKTV/AP) - Five people were killed and dozens were injured Saturday night when stage rigging collapsed after a storm gust, trapping and injuring fans awaiting a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair, officials said.
NBC affiliate WTHR reported up to 200 were seated in the outdoor VIP area called the "Sugar Pit" when the rigging collapsed around them at 8:50 p.m. ET.
About 12,000 people were at the concert.
Thirty minutes before the collapse, opening act Sara Bareilles finished her set by commenting what a beautiful night it was, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Editor's note: Accurate reports of the number of victims changed rapidly in the hours following the incident. Authorities and media outlets had conflicting numbers throughout the night.
The collapse came as thousands of concert-goers were being
evacuated from the fairground grandstand to a nearby coliseum
because of an approaching storm. A wind gust brought down the stage rigging onto an area where some fans were seated.
Witnesses tell WTHR that a wall of dirt, dust, rain and wind came up the main thoroughfare of the fairgrounds just before the collapse. One man said, "Panic kicked in."
Another concertgoer said there was lightning, and the sky had gotten dark, but that it wasn't raining when the wind suddenly toppled the rigging.
No one was performing at the time. The opening act was finished, and the crowd was waiting for the country group Sugarland to perform.
Associated Press photographer Darron Cummings, who was in the audience as a fan, says he and his friends sought shelter in a nearby barn after seeing weather radar. He says he then heard screams, and heard people running.