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Fifth death reported in Indiana stage collapse

By Reuters
Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:10 EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – A fifth person has died from the collapse of an outdoor concert stage in heavy wind just before a weekend show at the Indiana State Fair, which was shut down on Sunday, authorities said.

More than 40 people were injured in the collapse on Saturday night, Indiana State Police said.

The collapse occurred just minutes before the country duo Sugarland was set to begin performing.

Concert officials had informed spectators that the show might have to be postponed due to the winds, but a strong gust blew the stage over before any official evacuation order was issued.

One of those killed was stagehand Nate Byrd, 52, who was on the stage rigging to run the show’s spotlight.

An amateur video posted on YouTube showed a heavy gust of wind blowing down the stage rigging. People in the crowd can be heard screaming.

Spectators tried to hold up parts of the collapsed stage that fell into the standing area below to help anyone who might be trapped, eyewitnesses said.

The fair was closed on Sunday but expected to reopen on Monday.

Sugarland sent a Twitter message about the incident, saying: “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.”

The Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the state fairgrounds can seat more than 15,000 people.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Barbara Goldberg)

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