Very sad news coming out of Toronto, Ontario today. A massive stage setup collapsed yesterday ahead of a Radiohead concert at Downsview Park and tragically killed a man in his 30s. Three other people were injured in the accident, one of those people was hurt seriously. You may recall that last Summer, there seemed to be a rash of stage collapses here in the US … and now tragedy has struck again :(
A stage at Toronto’s Downsview Park has collapsed in advance of this evening’s scheduled Radiohead concert, crushing a man in his 30s to death and injuring three others. Calls came in to emergency crews at about 4 p.m. ET, and at least one ambulance was already on site. Police say a 30-something man was declared dead at the scene, and a 45-year-old man was transported to Sunnybrook Hospital with a serious but non-life threatening head injury. Two others had minor injuries and were released without treatment. The man’s name is not being released until police notify his family. The 7:30 p.m. concert is cancelled, and Radiohead’s official Twitter feed advised fans not to make their way to the venue. Gates had been scheduled to open at 5 p.m. Alexandra Mihan was setting up in a beer tent parallel to the stage when she heard a sound like fireworks. “Then everyone started screaming and gasping,” she told CBC News. “We turned around, and the entire top of the stage has just collapsed. All of the metalwork and all of the screens had just kind of folded over on top of each other.” Food vendor Jeff Cole said between 10 and 15 crew members were on the large stage, which included screens and extensive lighting. “It was like watching in slow motion,” he said. “The top just came straight down on the right side. The metal was all mangled. I’m staring at it right now, and it’s not a pretty sight.” Firefighters went into the structure to extricate the man who died. It wasn’t clear whether the man was still alive when they found him. The area was quickly cleared of witnesses by emergency crews. “It’s very, very fortunate that the gates weren’t open, because it would have been pandemonium,” Cole said. The weather in Toronto at the time of the accident was calm, with temperatures in the high 20s and the forecast calling for light winds. Mihan said the weather was “beautiful.” “It couldn’t have been the weather that attributed to the collapse.” Toronto police Const. Tony Vella said the force will work closely with the Ontario Ministry of Labour to determine the cause of the disaster. He urged anyone who witnessed the collapse to come forward.
There’s no reason to believe that a tragedy like this would happen again in Toronto, necessarily, but undoubtedly accidents will occur. It’s pretty amazing the work that goes into erecting these massive stages day in and day out. It’s horrible that a death occurred because it seems so meaningless. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of this accident. The Summer concert season is just getting into full swing and lots of people will be attending concerts and festivals. Here’s hoping that there will be no more accidents of his nature ;(