Sugarland ‘Stunned and Heartbroken’ After Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Kills 5, Injures 40
Tragedy struck in a matter of minutes last night (Saturday, August 13), when roughly 12,000 fans were packed into the Indiana State Fair, awaiting Sugarland to take the stage. The sky turned dark, and a massive storm rolled in that tore down the entire stage. At press time, it has been confirmed that the stage collapse killed at least five people and injured over 40, according to News 13 out of Indianapolis.
As Taste of Country previously reported, the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage collapsed shortly before 9:00PM, after opening act Sara Bareilles's performance. As fans prepared for Sugarland to take the stage, the weather turned questionable, and many fans decided to take shelter or leave the fairgrounds to be on the safe side. Those who stuck around witnessed the horrific events as the stage buckled, landing on the fans down below.
"A big gust of wind came through," witness Aaron Richman, told CNN. "You could see a lot of people panicking. All the scaffolding and speakers -- all that came crashing down -- and the whole stand just
"We tried to get down to help, but no one was moving," another concert attendee, Allison Hoehn, reported as she and others tried to get down to the stage to help people out from under the heavy equipment. "The storm came on so fast, and the stage just snapped like a toothpick. Everyone rushed to help, and we saw people searching and pulling people out. [I] saw five people go away on stretchers. It was amazing how many people ran in to try to lift the scaffolding."
The National Weather Service estimated the wind gusts blowing between 60 and 70 MPH. Authorities were reportedly in the process of issuing an evacuation order for the grandstands, but Mother Nature spoke too soon.
Sugarland, who escaped the night unharmed, never took the stage on Saturday night. "We are stunned and heartbroken for the fans and their families in Indiana," Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles said in a
statement. "We hold those injured in our prayers at this very sad time. There are no words. It is tragic."
Sugarland have canceled their Sunday evening performance that was to take place at the Iowa State Fair, according to the fair's website. The Indiana State Fair is also scheduled to be closed Sunday.
Watch the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapsing