Around 15 people were injured on Friday, five of them seriously, in an accidental explosion during rehearsals for a Paris musical, just hours before the show was due to start, police sources and an employee said.
The blast occurred near the stage shortly after 6:00 pm, apparently after a pyrotechnic explosion went off for unknown reasons.
The injured were mostly technicians who were setting up for the 8:30 pm showing of “1789, The Lovers of the Bastille” at the Palais des Sports, which was cancelled as a result of the blast.
A wall and part of the ceiling collapsed in the explosion. No audience members had yet arrived.
“The walls shook,” an employee at the theatre told AFP, adding that only cast and crew were on site at the time of the blast.
Five of the victims were badly hurt and rushed to hospital, police sources told AFP. Around a dozen others received treatment, though some only to have their ears checked after being exposed to the loud blast.
About 100 firefighters and a dozen fire engines were deployed to the scene of the accident.
An inquiry has been opened.
France’s Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti has contacted one of the show’s producers, Albert Cohen, to convey “a message of solidarity ,” her spokesman said, while Interior Minister Manuel Valls paid a brief visit to the theatre and spoke with the rescue workers.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]