Pink Floyd 'very angry and upset' over accident: Human error could have caused temporary stand's collapse at rock concert attended by 15,000 fans. Danny Penman reports
Friday 14 October 1994
Three people, more seriously injured, were still in hospital yesterday. Insurance assessors and officials from Kensington and Chelsea council and the Health and Safety Executive were sifting the wreckage trying to find the reason for the collapse.
Dave Gilmour, leader of Pink Floyd, said before the group started their concert last night: 'The band is very angry and upset. It is extremely fortunate that no one was killed. We want to find out from the management of Earls Court what happened.'
A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said it was considering two causes: 'It may be something like a catastrophic failure of a component or it may be that somebody has fouled up somewhere.'
Stage crew who were helping to clear up the wreckage claimed that poor assembly the most likely cause. The HSE spokesman said: 'If you have a structure that's designed to bear loads you have to ensure that it's designed properly, and assembled and disassembled properly. These things are all interrelated.'
He said the HSE was looking to see what lessons were to be learnt and whether there was a case to be answered. If any party or person is considered to be liable, prosecutions could be brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. A spokeswoman for Earls Court Olympia, the company that runs the venue, said the stand that collapsed had been checked only a few hours before the concert. Yesterday all the seating was being rechecked. She insisted 'everything possible' was being done for the safety of the crowd.
The wreckage was cleared away in time for yesterday's concert, and Pink Floyd had agreed to play an extra night to replace the lost concert. But that was small comfort for the fans who had made huge efforts to see the group on Wednesday, their first appearance in Britain on their seven-month world tour.
Some were gathered outside Earls Court again last night. Ronny Levi, 23, had travelled from Israel to see Pink Floyd on Wednesday. She said: 'We want more tickets for tonight. I don't really have any choice but to queue to see if they've got any spare.'
William Vannuil, 27, who had travelled from Airdrie in Strathclyde for the cancelled concert, said: 'Everyone's really angry and pissed off. They should be able to handle a concert of this size with no problems, the amount of gigs they do.'
A spokesman for Earls Court said most of those unable to attend last night because of the collapsed stand had been contacted and arrangements made for refunds or alternative dates.
Wednesday night's show has been rescheduled for Monday 17 October, with all tickets for Wednesday night's show valid for that date.
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