Could Concert Organizers Have Prevented Indiana Stage Collapse Tragedy?
Were mistakes made in the terrifying stage collapse that killed five people in Indiana? Crowd safety expert Paul Wertheimer tells INSIDE EDITION, "Simply saying that it's a freak accident, an act of God, is not excusable,"
He says the concert organizers should have evacuated the crowd.
Safety experts know what happens when a concert stage crosses paths with a thunderstorm, because it's happened before.
There was a horrible incident in Ottawa, Canada. A stage at a Cheap Trick concert collapsed when a violent thunderstorm roared through the city. Panic ensued and people were trampled as the crowd stampeded towards the exits.
Another stage, also in Canada, fell on top of Kevin Costner, trapping him for several minutes before he got out. He was getting ready to go onstage when a thunderstorm moved in. The crowd panicked, trying to escape the falling stage.
Someone trapped in the rubble actually called 911:
"There is like concrete and there's something on top of my back. I can't see a thing. It was awful. I thought my life was literally ending," she told the 911 operator.
Investigators are now trying to piece together what went wrong in Indiana.
It turns out concert organizers knew the storm was coming a full seven hours before it hit.
At 1 p.m. the National Weather Service warned concert organizers to expect thunderstorms.
At 6 p.m. the warning was upgraded to a severe thunderstorm.
At 7 p.m. there was another warning: winds would reach 60 miles per hour.
At 8:49 p.m. tragedy struck. A mass of twisted metal came crashing down, killing five people.
It is clear concert organizers were hearing the warnings, because they alerted the audience where to seek shelter from the rain if need be, but could they have done more to protect the crowd?
"There is this rain or shine mentality and that's a gamble no one should ever take with lives," Wertheimer says.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Use your own common sense and don't wait for some official to make the decision.