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Stage Collapse At 2011 Indiana State Fair Kills Five [Video]

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 13: A general view of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The stage fell just before country duo Sugarland were scheduled to perform, killing five people and injuring as many as 40 more. (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images)

At least five people were killed and 40 others were seriously injured Saturday night when storm winds knocked down the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand Concert Stage at the Indiana State Fair.

State police now know the steel rigging structure holding up the stage lighting for the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand collapsed when a wind gust estimated at over 60 miles an hour slammed into the fairgrounds.

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Fair officials say at least 12,000 people had gathered at the stage area to watch big name acts like Sara Bareilles and Sugarland perform.

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There were close to 100 people standing near the front of the stage in a VIP area when the rigging collapsed just before 9pm EST, trapping them and members of the stage crew under the rubble.

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Meteorologists have put together a timeline to show how the weather played out just minutes before the collapse.

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This morning, Governor Mitch Daniels visited the site of the collapse. During a press briefing he broke down as he described what he saw at the fairgrounds.

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Those killed were Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah; Glenn Goodrich, 49, of Indianapolis; Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago; and Nathan Byrd, 51, of Indianapolis. Byrd died early Sunday at Methodist Hospital.

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Byrd was a member of the lighting crew for the stage company and was sitting on the scaffolding so he could follow members of the band Sugarland with a spotlight as they performed on stage. Sara Bareilles had just finished her set a few minutes before the storm started to approach the area. Sugarland was next. They were in their prayer huddle when the stage came tumbling down. Both Bareilles and Sugarland posted messages of sympathy and support on their official websites and twitter pages after the horrific tragedy. (click picture for larger view)

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Twitter statement from Sara Barielles (twitter.com/#!/sarabareilles)

 

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Statement from Sugarland about the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair (Sugarlandmusic.com)

 

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Sugarland and Barielles are touring together this summer and had planned to play at the Iowa State Fair tonight. In light of the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair Saturday, they have canceled the show in Iowa tonight.

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The Indiana State Police are handling the investigation into the collapse of the stage at the fair and have been issuing regular updates.

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The death count could go higher. Indiana State Police say the injuries suffered by some of those in the collapse are so severe that its possible some may not survive.

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The fair closed today out of respect for the families of those who were killed and hurt Saturday night. It will reopen Monday morning with a memorial service for those who died.

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Official statement on the tragedy from the Indiana State Fair (in.gov/statefair/fair)
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