Indiana Fairgrounds Stage Collapses in Wind, Killing Four

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Tiassa, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Holy Shit

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    Tragedy in Motion: A stage collapses at an Indiana fairground, killing four.

    Authorities say they have confirmed at least four deaths after a stage collapsed during a storm at the Indiana State Fair, where country act Sugarland was set to perform.

    Indiana State Police said the number of people hurt has risen to about 40, with their injuries ranging from minor to serious. The incident happened Saturday night at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

    (Associated Press)

    The good news is the stage was empty, else things could have been much worse. The bad news, of course, is four dead and forty injured.

    Condolences, of course.

    The video is unsettling, to say the least.


    Associated Press. "At least 4 dead, dozens hurt after stage collapse at Ind. fair where Sugarland was to perform". The Washington Post. August 13, 2011. August 13, 2011.
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  3. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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  5. fedr808 1100101 Valued Senior Member

    I was just there the day before for Purdue day.
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    From what I've understood the people that were killed were workers trying to secure the stage better or were doing something to it and then they were trapped.
  8. superstring01 Moderator

    Horrific. Wonder why the thing wasn't inspected [properly] for safety? Do we honestly need a law to cover the lack of common sense that is apparently used on these things?

  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Temporary structures are never built to withstand winds of that magnitude. The extra cost would be astronomical and they only have a few days (in this case perhaps a single day) to amortize it. Ticket prices would be so high that attendance would drop drastically and it would no longer be practical to produce the event. If it's a free event then even the promoters might decide its not worth the expense. It's a risk we accept because the probability is so low and the cost of avoidance is so high.

    Can we please do some rational risk analysis here instead of being typical Americans shouting, "Omigod, four people died! We have to do something, no matter what the second-order effects might be!" This is how we ended up spending three trillion dollars and surrenduring our civil rights to the Homeland Gestapo in order to combat terrorists, who kill three thousand Americans per decade, instead of a few billion dollars to install a breathalyzer ignition interlock in every car at the factory, saving the one hundred fifty thousand Americans who are killed by drunk drivers during that same decade.

    The number of Americans killed by terrorists is roughly the same as the number killed by peanut allergies. The number killed by temporary structures collapsing in a hundred-year weather event is, shall we say, substantially less than that.
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Winds in Indy can be really strong. Its tornado country
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    A weather expert refutes the governors statement that the storm/tragedy was a weather "fluke." Story here:

    And I agree.

    First off, are we expected to believe that the vast majority of attendees were from some other continent or perhaps the planet Mars? :bugeye: I ask that because anyone living within a 500-mile radius of the site should know what the weather is like there during this time of the year. EVERY summer there are multiple cold fronts that move in from the northwest and gusty winds ALWAYS precede them. This most certainly was NOT a hundred-year event akin to the earthquake/tsunami that struck Japan not long ago.

    And that's not the end of the sheer stupidity of the people in charge of the event NOR the general attendees. In this day and age most people carry cellphones and a lot of those even have weather apps on them - plus, some of those even will actually notify you of weather alerts when they are issued.

    And indeed those watches and warnings WERE issued. Here's a direct quote from the news story I just linked you to:

    "Inclement Weather Had Been in the Forecast
    From the Indianapolis National Weather Service: The potential for severe weather was noted as early as Thursday (August 11) and again on Friday (August 12). Forecasters addressed the severe weather threat in greater detail early on Saturday (August 13). This product highlighted that damaging winds and large hail would be the most significant impacts with any thunderstorms moving through central Indiana during the late afternoon and evening. Other risks included dangerous lightning and heavy rainfall.

    Severe Weather Watch and Warning
    At 4:45 p.m. ET Saturday, a line of strong thunderstorms were already in progress over northern and central Illinois. The line continued to intensify as they marched into Indiana and at 5:57 p.m. ET a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for all of central Indiana. Hail up to one inch in diameter, wind gusts of up to 70 mph and lightning were all highlighted within the watch.

    As the line drew closer to Indianapolis, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Marion County, Ind., at 8:39 p.m. ET which included the Indianapolis metro area. By definition, a severe thunderstorm is one which produces wind speeds of 58 mph or greater or hail one inch in diameter or more.

    At 8:49 p.m. ET, ten minutes after the bulletin was issued, the stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair dramatically collapsed onto concert-goers after an outflow boundary or gust front swept through the fairgrounds. That is a ten-minute lead time for event officials to evacuate concert-goers and usher them into a place of safety and shelter. Does this seem like a fluke to you ... a chance occurrence? If a known hazard — wind gusts in excess of 60 mph — is approaching, how is the destruction it causes a fluke?

    Senior meteorologist Stu Ostro notes that "this wasn't an isolated pop-up thunderstorm that suddenly sprouted and produced a 'pulse' type of severe wind report. Although not a derecho, what produced the wind at the concert was a strong, long-lived line of thunderstorms which had produced many severe wind/hail reports a couple of counties upstream. As noted elsewhere, there had been a severe thunderstorm watch (in fact, it was in effect well out ahead of where radar showed the storms to be at the time it was issued) and a severe thunderstorm warning issued."

    So, in the final analysis, this could readily be compared to some individuals (the promoters of the show) telling a herd of rather stupid people to go stand in the middle of some railroad tracks. And with no one - the promoters nor the people themselves - having the good sense to heed the warnings that a train WAS indeed on the way.
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    This and That

    Speaking of costs, where do you put four dead in the ledger?

    It's not that I disagree with the underlying principle but, in the first place, do you really think that would work? And in the second, when something like this happens, people are inevitably going to ask certain questions, and when the answer is to compare four lives to the amortization of a temporary structure, to imply that, well, basic risk analysis prescribes an acceptable threshold—and what is that limit, anyway?—for people killed in order to not screw up the financial formula, it's just a hard one for people to take.

    All the time our culture fends off attacks from within and without suggesting decadence, irreverence toward life, and subjugation to greed. Earthsickness, the Sufis call it, and a severe case, it seems. It makes it a lot harder to suggest those complaints are wrongheaded when the rational process you describe—the extra cost would be astronomical and they only have a few days to amortize it—embodies the complaint.

    I understand the logical process as you describe it, and see it all the time in American society. Perhaps we might stop to consider whether or not such concerns and corner-cutting—inevitable in capitalism, according to Marx—are really so logical. They work on paper, sure, but not so well in life.

    • • •​

    The only trouble I'm having with that summary is that I can't figure to what degree it accounts for the idea that the people are entitled to expect certain basic safety considerations. You buy a car, you expect the tires won't fall off ten minutes later. You buy a house, you expect it meets certain structural codes. You buy a concert ticket at a public fairground, do you have the right to expect that you're not going to die just because someone wanted to keep the budget in line with projections?

    I mean, yes. You go out in a lightning storm and get hit by lightning, I get it. But there are so many other people, figuratively, 'twixt you and the wind, by which I mean the people whose job it is to ensure that a facility is safe for such an event.

    So the question arises: What are people entitled to expect of institutions, public or private, in society?
  13. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I'm responding to this only because it was in response to what I posted. I'm not engaging in the "cost vs safety" debate - my whole point is about joint responsibility for allowing the tragedy to occur. The responsibility of BOTH the show promoters AND the attendees. Again, BOTH parties were given multiple warnings of the approaching storm, yet everyone chose to ignore the danger.

    I feel fairly confident, though, that there will most likely be lawsuits filed against the promoters because they will be perceived as having the "greater responsibility" in the tragedy. But what I'm trying to point out is that the attendees should ALSO share a large portion of that responsibility.

    In fact, if I were the judge presiding over a civil suit filed by the families of those that were hurt or killed, I'd place responsibility at about 55% on the promoters and 45% on the victims themselves.
  14. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    industrial "Acidents" (which this would fall under) are unaceptable full stop. Im a st john volly and we work at alot of public events behind the scenes and so we see alot of what the public doesnt. If you go to the Adelaide show (or any other) you will find work cover inspectors inspecting things like the rides for saftey, the stages at big day out ect. NO ONE should go to work only to never come home because of an industrial acident. Its a compleatly different situation from terriousium FR, they dont even come close.

    Lets look at a common incident, putting a saftey guard on a machine might costs 100,000s of $ and no one may have ever died because it wasnt there, irrelivent. If work cover inspects and finds no guard you will be fined a fortune and if someone does die you will be charged with industrial manslaughter, there is no "balancing act" between lives and cost, saftey MUST come first.
  15. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    BTW work cover is one of the most powerful goverment agencies in Australia, they are the ONLY organisation which has an automatic right to see the pt records for pts treated at an event for instance, they can order an event instantly shut down, infact they almost closed down big day out because our first aid units hadnt been surplied with air conditioning. The organisers were required to fix that then and there or that was the end of there event. They are way more powerful than the police (oviously they cant shoot people though)
  16. clusteringflux Version 1. OH! Valued Senior Member

    most professional concert tickets in the USA today have a rather lengthy disclaimer on the back that basically outlines the sentiment "ENTER AT OWN RISK".
    Some black ink is cheaper than lawsuits...or reinforced truss supports, for that matter.
  17. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    People in America don't know how powerful building inspectors really are . Like for example they can come in your house with out a search warrant. Yeah if they suspect your house is not sound structurally they can . Many other reasons too . The Plumbing Inspector is said top be the most powerful person on the planet . He can shut your water off and lets not go into sewage . Fuck that reminds Me I gots to pay Me sewer bill . Don't Want to be a nasty like Thomas Jefferson
  18. superstring01 Moderator

    Black ink doesn't excuse poor planning or prevent the injured from suing. At least, in the USA it doesn't. Even if you sign a release, notarized by a legal authority, you can still sue. You cannot forfeit your constitutional rights in the USA except under rare circumstances--and never on a permanent basis. I hope the injured sue the shit out of them. It's disgusting that people had to die over something like this.

  19. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Those people that died and got hurt . There families and them selves that got hurt and lived . They got one hell of a suit pending . Liability insurance probably don't cover the promoters exposure . They can plan on paying out big . You can't sign away your legal rights no matter how good a contract is . Just can't do it . The contract will fool many if nothing happens and if it is a small event it might even work then , but something big like this . No way . Disclaimers mean nothing . If it was just you fighting with another person A yeah you might get arrested and that be it . You and them in court . The person you fought with silly
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Just stay home

    The International Version

    Yes, there is an international version, and this so shortly after the Indiana tragedy. Slobodon Lekic, for the Associated Press:

    A storm swept through a popular open-air music festival in this town eastern Belgium on Thursday killing at least three people and injuring more than 70 others, an official said.

    Ambulances and police cars raced to and from the site of the Pukkelpop festival, near the town of Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels, late Thursday, their sirens blaring. Concertgoers described scenes of panic as the sky darkened, the winds whipped, rain poured, hailstones nearly half an inch (larger than 1 centimeter) across pelted the crowds, and concert structures buckled ....

    .... Hugo Simons, Hasselt's head of emergency medical planning, told VRT radio that three people had died, 11 had been severely injured and 60 had sustained light injuries as a result of the storm.

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    Okay, that's it. No more outdoor concerts allowed anywhere the wind might blow.
    As a matter of fact, if you live where the weather isn't perfect all the time, never leave the house.

    And, of course, condolences.


    Lekic, Slobodon. "Storm kills 3 at Belgian music festival; Seattle band OK". Associated Press. August 18, 2011. August 19, 2011.
  21. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, that wouldn't work at all. Those systems are really easy to defeat - all you need is a sober friend with you to blow into it so you can start your car. He doesn't even need to ride with you, just get the thing started and away you go. Older alcoholics with court-ordered ignition interlocks tend to bring their kids with them when they drink and drive, for this exact purpose - so, more danger, and to children to boot.

    Plus, you'd need a complex and expensive bureaocracy to regularly check on these systems to ensure that people aren't simply disabling them outright. The current system (where these are used on convicted drunk drivers) relies on heavy legal penalties for any such shenanigans.
  22. Pinwheel Banned Banned

    I prefer the spike mounted on the steering wheel.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Part of society includes people's obligations to one another

    Fair enough, but I think the cost/safety issue is inherent.

    The reason is that we can make your argument about all sorts of natural tragedies.

    What do we tell people who live in California? I mean, they know there are earthquakes.

    I live in Seattle. We've had nice weather for a few days. Shortly, it will start raining again, and maybe we can tell someone who gets in a car wreck that he knew the rain was coming and should have stayed off the roads. That way, he wouldn't have been where he was when the guy sliding through the red light t-boned him.

    My point is that in society people have certain expectations. For instance, I go to concerts at the Gorge Amphitheatre. There are hideous winds blowing out there sometimes. But we generally don't worry about the stage falling down because the people who run it recognize that there is better amortization of their facility in not killing concertgoers.

    Perhaps this is a novel, even extreme philosophy for capitalists, but it seems to work well enough.

    I remember seeing Pearl Jam once, on this insanely muggy day where the mercury was up near a hundred and the humidity was ludicrous for a river gorge in the middle of the desert. In the midwest, people would have rightly hunkered down under tornado warnings.

    To the other, we don't get many tornadoes here.

    Still, the medical staff had their hands full with heat-related symptoms.

    Perhaps, then, they ought to say to those people, "You knew it was going to be hot. You shouldn't have spent money on a concert ticket and come out today if you knew it was going to be so hot."

    In the end, what it means is that unless you happen to live in the Garden of Eden, you ought never leave the house, because someone can always say you should have known better.

    I mean, as most car accidents happen within five miles of the home, I ought never drive anywhere less than five miles away, because, well, I already know the dangers of driving within five miles of the home.

    Oh, well, at least I'll get some more exercise.

    Except, of course, I also know the roads around here are built to be hostile to pedestrians. So if someone runs me down while I'm walking, it would be my fault, too, because I know the roads are dangerous.

    Which leaves me with the option of staying at home unless I need to go six miles at least.

    Shit. My kid's mother lives only three miles away by the roads. That's really going to screw up the custody exchange.

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