[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]Today, police and safety investigators inspected the Saturday night’s tragedy site at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where the stage collapsed. Governor Mitch Daniels was among those who put the biggest blame on wind gusts that came sooner than expected, ahead of a powerful storm.
[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”stanga”]In the morning, family members of dozens of injured concert-goers and workers were standing vigil at area hospitals. The collapse of overhead stage rigging onto thousands of people waiting for country duo Sugarland to take the stage and killed 4 people at the scene and sent other 45 to hospitals, according to revised injury numbers issued by Indiana State Police today. At least other 20-25people checked themselves into hospitals overnight.
Total deaths grew to 5 early this morning, when a lighting crew member – who had climbed atop the structure to aim a light before the collapse – was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The four who died at the scene were:
Tammy Vandam, 42, Wanatah, Indiana;
Glenn Goodrich, 49, Indianapolis, Indiana;
Alina Bigjohny, 23 Fort Wayne, Indiana;
Christina Santiago, 29, Chicago Illinois.
Nathan Byrd, 51, from Indianapolis, died at Methodist Hospital early this morning. Byrd, the lighting crew member, who had been working up in the rigging when the collapse happened, was crushed when the rigging came down.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Saturday night, about 9 p.m., after the opening act at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand had finished, but before Sugarland performance, an announcer told the attendees of approaching severe weather. But officials held off on ordering an evacuation.
A timeline issued today by Indiana State Police showed that at 8:49 p.m. – about 25 minutes before the storm’s forecasted arrival – a strong gust of wind blew through the fairgrounds, toppling the stage setup onto those closest to the stage. As the crowd scattered, scores of fans rushed toward the metal structure to lift it off victims.
“What you saw last night was a display of best qualities of both public and private Hoosiers,” Governor Mitch Daniels said during a news conference this morning in the Farm Bureau Building at the fairgrounds. Governor became choked up as he talked about the emergency response.
The Indiana Fairgrounds was closed today, but activities were scheduled to resume on Monday. Indiana State Fair officials are still considering alternate plans for events set for the grandstand this week, including concerts by Janet Jackson and Train, but no details have been announced.
After the fair’s tomorrow reopening at 8 p.m., there will be a public remembrance for the victims at 9 a.m. at the Free Stage.
At the morning’s news conference, Daniels was joined by State Fair Director Cindy Hoye and State Police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten. First Lady Cheri Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard both attended but did not speak.
Dave Bursten said the early indication was that the “isolated significant wind gust” took authorities and event coordinators by surprise, since the storm itself was still about 30 minutes from arriving. They had been in contact with the National Weather Service for much of the evening.
Bursten noted that the midway and other areas on the grounds weren’t damaged so severely, and some not at all.
Cindy Hoye said the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) is investigating the structure of the stage rigging, which was provided by Mid-America Sound Corp. of Greenfield.
“Some survivors’ injuries are still considered life-threatening,” Dave Bursten said.
“For others, they may be life-altering,” he added.
The extent of most victims’ injuries or their conditions is still unclear, but at least few people were reportedly in critical condition or intensive care units. Three children were still being treated today at Riley Hospital for Children.