Five people are dead and more than 40 remain hospitalized with injuries after the main stage at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis collapsed moments before the main event was scheduled to take place.



According to the Indianapolis Star, 12,000 gathered to see the country-pop act Sugarland at around 8:45 p.m. But the State Police special operations commander noted that his radar indicated that a storm was approaching, one bringing heavy rain and 60 mph wind, so he and the fair's Executive Director "decided it was time to evacuate the crowd."

The Star reports that unfortunately, that didn't happen:

But a minute later, when WLHK program director Bob Richards addressed the crowd, the word was that the show would go on, and that the crowd should be prepared to find shelter if things changed. Some of the crowd sensed the danger and left without further word. But the majority remained.

Seconds later, a fierce wind blew in from the direction of the midway, kicking up what one witness described as "a canopy of dust."

Concertgoers told the paper that the sounds of wind and screams enveloped the moment. "It really did look like slow motion," one woman in attendance said, "All we could do was hold hands." The Star's music critic was in the 5th row: "The gust of wind came, there was no rain yet and the production fell from left to right…you could clearly see people were under the footprint of the rigging." Despite the poor weather, it only took around 20 minutes to free those who were trapped from under the fallen stage.

Sugarland tweeted last night that they were fine, but they are "praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you'll join us. They need your strength." This morning, Governor Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard toured the fairgrounds, and the fair has been shuttered until Monday.