Eight injured in Ottawa stage collapse
Monday 18 July 2011
The main stage at Ottawa Bluesfest collapsed last night during a Cheap Trick concert as a severe thunderstorm sent the musicians and thousands of fans running for cover. At least five people were injured, one seriously.
Cheap Trick's band members got off the stage safely, but witnesses said they were thrown off their feet.
"Everyone is okay and we are so lucky to be alive and hope that all the fans are okay too," the band, best known for hits including "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me" and "The Flame", said in a message posted on Facebook.
Video of the Bluesfest site posted on YouTube within minutes of the storm's passing showed a stage that had crumpled and collapsed over electronic equipment. Twisted shards of metal jutted out from the stage, which stood several stories tall before it was destroyed.
Concert-goer Leanne Wilson said the stage slowly heaved backwards and caved in.
"In less than 10 seconds it was gone," she said. "(Cheap Trick) were playing right until it fell. And then instantly everybody was just running and screaming."
"I was stunned, I'd never seen anything like that before at a concert."
Marc Messier, a spokesman for Ottawa Fire Services, said a 49-year-old man was in serious condition with abdominal, pelvic and leg injuries. Another had a spinal injury and a third person experienced chest pains. At least eight other people were treated at the scene for minor issues including twisted ankles and anxiety.
Environment Canada had a thunderstorm warning in effect for Ottawa, saying winds were expected to reach 56 mph.
Bluesfest is one of North America's main musical events. The festival first took place in 1994 and has since grown from a one-stage, three-day event to a multi-staged, 12-day music showcase featuring some of the best international talent.
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