A Few Thoughts on the Indiana State Fair
Five people lost their lives. Dozens were injured, and as with any tragedy, the quiestion has to be "How could this have happened?". There will be tragedies always. They will be inexplicable and completely unexpected.
Thousands of fans were gathered, waiting for a Sugarland concert to start. While they were gathered, a gust of wind estimated to be as high as 70-mph struck the stage and supporting structures.
With the destruction and collapse, parts of the crowd were crushed by the massive rigging, sound equipment and lighting. If you want to see it again (maybe for the 20th time...)
It's only natural for people to ask about whether something like this could have been prevented? According to all reports, officials from the scene were in contact with the National Weather Service constantly up-dating the situation. the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning...and reports are that there were plans for evacuating the crowd.
Then, the gust hit.
Six minutes after the NWS warning, the crowd was told that there was bad weather in the area, and if it worsened, the concert could be called off. They were provided instructions on seeking shelter, but few left. The gust of wind hit four minutes later, at roughly 8:49 p.m. While such winds are "not unusual," according to the National Weather Service it's very difficult to predict their intensity.
Fair officials have said they decided to evacuate and were on their way to make the announcement when the gust of wind hit.
The investigation will certainly continue. I'm sure I'll be up-dating this story sometime later in the fall when all concerned have reached their conclusions. The fact is that five people have lost their lives. Their families and friends will never be the same and will remember August 13, 2011 for the rest of theirs.
The Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, has appeared at press conferences praising the bravery of the crowd that rushed to the collapse to save whom they could and aid those that were injured. His praise is certainly deserved, and may be the only bright spot in such a tragedy. In fact, the Governor is quoted as saying:
"there was a hero every 10 feet."
Amen to that. We'll keep you informed as to the rest of it.