Indiana State Fair Victims Remembered During Monday Morning Memorial
A memorial was held to remember the five men and women killed during Saturday night's stage collapse tragedy at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Meanwhile, family, friends, state fair officials and country duo Sugarland are still struggling to understand and make peace with the incident.
According to WRTV in Indianapolis, hundreds of people attended this morning's 9AM ceremony. "We all need to grieve, and I think it's important that we come together and do that," Mayor Greg Ballard said. "I want people to understand that we do feel for them." Approximately 45 others were injured, some seriously, when a freak gust of wind toppled the stage rigging a few minutes before Sugarland was to begin performing.
Fair staff had been closely monitoring the weather. MSNBC reports that officials contacted weather service personnel four times between 5:30 and 8PM, and were told a strong storm with 40 mph winds and hail was expected around 9:15PM. Additional security was brought in to prepare for a possible evacuation, and the audience of 12,000 was warned one might be coming. Nobody expected the 60-70 mph gust that took down the stage a few minutes before 9PM.
New details are emerging about some of the five people lost in the incident. Christina Santiago, 29, managed programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago and was recently named to the Windy City Times' "30 Under 30" list. According to The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind,. Alina Bigjohny, 23, had just been hired to teach seventh grade in Muncie, Ind.
The three other victims are Tammy Vandam, a 41-year-old single mother from Wanatah, Ind., Glenn Goodrich, a 49-year-old security employee from Indianapolis, and 51-year-old Nathan Byrd of Indianapolis. According to MSNBC, Byrd was on top of the rigging when it fell. The Indy Star reports that Goodrich pushed at least two others to safety before being toppled by the stage.
Sugarland canceled Sunday night's performance at the Iowa State Fair. Jennifer Nettles released a statement through her management team after watching the video of the collapse: "I am so moved. Moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured."
Watch the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapsing