US officials yesterday began investigating the circumstances that led to the collapse of a temporary stage at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, killing five people and injuring others.
State police said that a “significant” gust of wind destabilised rigging and the structure above the stage, triggering the catastrophic collapse of the superstructure in an easterly direction. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels called it an “unspeakable tragedy” and a “freakish accident”. Officials had been anticipating a thunderstorm at around 9.15pm and had issued a severe weather warning at 8.45pm. However, officials said it was not the storm that had caused the accident but an about five second gust of easterly wind that occurred at around 8.55pm.
Event organiser Indiana State Fairgrounds executive director Cynthia Hoye said that it would be working closely with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the State Fire Marshall’s office, which was conducting its own internal investigation. Hoye added that the activities of the contractor for the temporary structure would also be looked at, although she did not reveal who it was.
Five people have been confirmed dead and 45 were taken to hospital after the accident.