Indiana Fair Reopens After Deadly Stage Collapse

Posted August 15th, 2011 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Officials in the U.S. state of Indiana held a memorial service Monday for five people who died in the collapse of a concert stage at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday.

Governor Mitch Daniels gave an emotional address, saying the “our hearts are broken” over the deaths. But he praised the people who rushed to help pull the injured out of the wreckage.

Hundreds of people gathered for the service honored the victims with a moment of silence and a hymn.

After the service, the fair reopened, with flags flying at half-staff in memory of the dead.

On Sunday, the governor said the stage collapse was a “freakish accident” that no one could have anticipated.

A gust of wind measured between 96 and 112 kilometers per hour blew down the stage on top of a crowd waiting to hear the country music group Sugarland perform.

More than 40 other people were hurt.

The U.S. National Weather Service warned fair officials that a severe storm was bearing down on the fairgrounds. Officials notified fairgoers about the weather over a public address system, but the governor says no one could have predicted such a powerful wind gust.

Sugarland members say they are praying for their fans and for the people of Indianapolis. None of the band members were hurt.

State fairs are a summertime tradition in the United States, featuring rides, games, shows, agriculture and farm animals.