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RadioHead Stage Collapse Footage Toronto, One Fatality + Injuries

1y ago
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(June 16, 2012) One man is dead and another is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries after a stage collapsed at Downsview Park Saturday afternoon, forcing the cancellation of a sold-out Radiohead concert. Police said a man in his 30s was killed by a "heavy, crushing injury" after stage scaffolding fell just before 4 p.m., trapping him underneath metal debris. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man, 45, was taken to Sunnybrook hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Paramedics treated two other male victims for minor injuries at the scene and they were later released. All of the victims were stage workers. Witnesses said the sound of the crumbling stage sounded like fireworks. Irene Constantin, who was working at a nearby beer tent, said the imploded stage "looked like toothpicks." The Radiohead concert, expected to start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, was intended to be the signature event of Toronto's North by Northeast Music Festival. Downsview Park issued a statement on Twitter, telling ticket holders the concert had been cancelled and advising them to stay away from the venue. Radiohead also advised fans to stay home via Twitter. Concert tickets sold for $81 on Ticketmaster and were available Saturday for as much as $125. Ticket holders will receive refunds, ticket company Live Nation said. Radiohead's last Toronto concert was in 2008 at the Molson Amphitheatre. The incident happened just one hour before the gates were slated to open. "Everybody was in place; everything was ready to go," said Alexandra Halbert, who was working in the beer tent. "We were all just standing there waiting. I think sound check was ready to begin just before the stage collapsed." Police would not confirm which company constructed the stage, but said it was erected "mainly for (the Radiohead concert)." It remains unclear what caused the stage to collapse. Toronto police have issued three forensic specialists to investigate the accident. A Ministry of Labour spokesperson confirmed two ministry inspectors and one engineer are assessing the scene. Yet, witnesses were left miffed by the accident, which occurred on a dry, sunny afternoon. "It was breezy, but nothing substantial." Halbert said. "Nothing to cause the stage to collapse, in my opinion." Natalie Racz, 22, had just arrived at Downsview Park when emergency crews pulled in. Racz has the Radiohead bear logo tattooed on her arm and was disappointed to hear that the show was cancelled. "Someone's dead so it's a bigger tragedy than missing a concert," said Racz, who pointed out that a 2003 concert was cancelled in Toronto due to a blackout. Racz said she saw at least 2,000 people quietly evacuate the park, escorted by security. Drew Walley, 38, had flown in Thursday from Minneapolis for the concert. Looking at the collapsed stage, Walley said he was experiencing mixed emotions. "Obviously I'm disappointed because it happened, but my own disappointment is overshadowed by the one person who lost his life," he said. Downsview has played host to several high-profile concerts and events in recent years. Pope John Paul II spoke at the site in 1984 and 2002. The site hosts Edgefest, a massive music festival, on July 14. Saturday's collapse follows a series of stage accidents at Canadian concerts in the last five years. A stage fell during a Cheap Trick concert at Ottawa's Bluesfest last year, injuring three. In 2009, the Big Valley Jamboree main stage, in Camrose, Alta., collapsed, killing one and injuring 15. North by Northeast said they cannot comment on who owns the Downsview stage, but they extended their condolences to the victims. "As part of Toronto's music community, our thoughts are with everyone connected with this very sad incident," a representative from North by Northeast said.