State Fair Closes Sunday After Deadly Stage Collapse

Five confirmed dead, dozens injured after winds blow down rigging at Sugarland concert.

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    Photo: Margie Michna/WFIU

    The canopy above the VIP spectators collapsed after hurricane force wind gusts hit it. State Police said an evacuation was being prepared, but had not been ordered.

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU

    The Indiana State Police have been in charge of the incident, and were apparently planning an evacuation of the concert as the tragedy occurred.

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    A fan's view of the stage collapse at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU

    The aftermath of the stage collapse, where concert attendees rushed in to lift the metal canopy off survivors and help them to safety.

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU

    Popular country band Sugarland was about to perform to thousands at the Indiana State Fair.

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    Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU

    It looked like a disaster scene as stretchers, wheelchairs, and makeshift gurneys were strewn about the grounds of the Pepsi Coliseum after the tragedy Saturday night. The Red Cross was on site to help families connect with victims.

The Indiana State Fair was closed Sunday, after the deaths of five people at Saturday night’s Sugarland concert. Sugarland was waiting to take the stage at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand when a gust of wind blew down the scaffolding for their stage set. At least 48 people were injured, some of them critically.

Indiana State Police spokesperson Dave Bursten said early Sunday search-and-rescue efforts at the stage are complete, but troopers were searching the fairgrounds to make doubly sure everyone is accounted for.

“Somebody could have wandered off from the general area by the stage area, and there is an active search of all the grounds to make sure that nobody that was injured could have wandered off and sat down because they’re disoriented,” said Bursten.

State Fair officials announced around 2 a.m. the fair would not open Sunday out of respect for the victims. Bursten said the fair is expected to reopen Monday with a prayer service for the victims and their families. Marion County was under a severe thunderstorm warning when the wind brought the rigging down, but Bursten said the storm itself wasn’t the issue. He said police and fire officials were watching the approaching thunderstorm, not the wind.

“Personnel were being put in place for an evacuation if that was deemed necessary, and there had been one announcement discussing that the show could be delayed depending upon the weather, and that if possible, the show would resume,” said Bursten.

He said state police were discussing evacuation plans when the wind gust hit shortly before 9 Saturday night. Sugarland and opening act Sara Bareilles canceled their scheduled Sunday night appearance at the Iowa State Fair. Both posted tweets urging prayers for their fans and for Indianapolis.

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