Video: Five dead after stage collapse

  1. Transcript of: Five dead after stage collapse

    LEST HOLT, anchor: We begin tonight with that horrible tragedy at the Indiana State Fair that turned an outdoor concert arena into a death trap. It happened last evening in Indianapolis . The cell phone video was agonizing to watch because it's playing. It was simply no time to escape when a strong and sudden gust of wind first shakes the stage and then collapses it onto the crowd of concert goers. Tonight at least five people are dead, dozens are injured, and there are questions about how officials reacted to warnings of dangerous weather headed their way. NBC 's Ron Mott is at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis with

    the latest for us tonight. Ron: Lester , good evening to you. This is one of the most popular state fairs in the country. This grandstand behind me was filled with people. There were even more people on the ground around that stage when the unthinkable happened. Minutes after an announcer told the crowd severe weather was possible, it was reality. A wind gust estimated between 60 and 70 miles an hour hit the stage, sending overhead rigging crashing down on concert goers.

    RON MOTT reporting: I was scared.

    Mr. CHRIS BRENNEMAN: Chris Brenneman lost sight of his son and wife in the chaos.

    MOTT: I don't know. We was in the stands and then the wind -- big gust of wind came, the stage flew over and I took off down there to see what I could do to help.

    Mr. BRENNEMAN: Ominous looking clouds hovered in the sky as people raced to lift the twisted wreckage of metal, cables and lighting off those who were trapped underneath. Some were carried from the scene. Folding tables became gurneys.

    MOTT: Individual Hoosiers ran to the trouble, not from the trouble, by the hundreds, offering their, in many cases, their own professional skills.

    Governor MITCH DANIELS (Republican, Indiana): The dead included a 23-year-old recent college grad who dreamed of teaching, a 51-year-old technician who was on the rigging manning a spotlight, and a 29-year-old community worker.

    MOTT: It happened so fast. It just came down and I just saw people running and people -- the next thing you know, you look back and there's people underneath the stage trying to get out.

    Unidentified Woman: Fair officials were closely monitoring the fast approaching storm, contacting the National Weather Service at least four times. A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for the area three hours before the collapse, upgraded to a warning just 10 minutes before. A concert announcer relaying that warning to the crowd. Some took cover right away, but many stayed behind.

    MOTT: Two hours out, we saw the storms on the way. The National Weather Service issued that warning indicating the potential for wind gusts in excess of 60 miles an hour . Unfortunately, it's impossible to say exactly where those strongest gusts will hit.

    MIKE SEIDEL reporting: The band Sugarland was preparing to take the stage. The group canceled a performance tonight in Iowa and issued a statement on Twitter , writing, "We are praying for our fans and the people of Indianapolis ." Officials have been on scene here all day investigating what went wrong. The fair was closed today. It is scheduled to reopen tomorrow beginning with a

    MOTT: Ron Mott in Indianapolis . Ron , thank you.

    public prayer service. Lester:

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