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Monday
Aug152011

Details Emerge on Indiana Stage Collapse Victims

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Snapshots of the victims of the stage collapse that killed five people in Indianapolis over the weekend are emerging while many of the at least 40 injured people are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

The nightmarish scene took place Saturday night at the Indiana State Fair, when winds of up to 70 mph blew down thousands of pounds of steel scaffolding, wooden beams, lighting, sound and other equipment of an outdoor stage down as 12,000 people waited for a Sugarland concert.

The five victims of the accident include: 42-year-old Tammy Vandham of Wanatah, Indiana; Glen Goodrich, a 49-year-old father of two from Indianapolis; and Nathan Bird, a 51-year-old stagehand who has on top of the rigging when it fell.  On Sunday night, vigils were held for 29-year-old Christina Santiago of Chicago and Alina Bigjohny of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was 23.

Others still fighting for their lives include a 5th grader identified simply as "Jade."  The girl's family issued a statement "to thank those who have been praying for her and ask them to continue praying."

The state fair will be open again on Monday for the first time since the incident, with Gov. Mitch Daniel attending a memorial service to remember the five that died.  The service will take place on the fairgrounds Monday morning.

Indiana State Police have said that the number of those injured could rise, given that some might have been transported privately for emergency care, rather than in ambulances ordered by rescue workers.

Gov. Daniels said the wind gust was a "fluke" that no one could have anticipated.  Rain had been in the forecast, but not the sudden high winds that damaged the stage.

"It's not clear to me at this stage how anyone could have foreseen a sudden, highly localized blast of wind in one place," Daniels said.  "The weather service is very good.  They were in constant contact, repeated contact with the folks here at the fairgrounds, and they were right about the arrival of the storm.  It came 15 or 20 minutes after the tragedy."

"In Indiana the weather can change from one report to another report and that was the case here," State Police Sgt. Dave Bursten said.

But some of the people who were there said they aren't so sure.

"There should have been warning the storm was coming," one witness said.  "You could tell the sky was getting really dark off to the left."

The crowd had been warned that thunderstorms were approaching and that they might have to evacuate.  But the same announcer said concert organizers hoped the show would go on, so many stayed put.

Two minutes later, just before 9 p.m., it was too late.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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