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Friday
Aug192011

Sixth Victim of Indiana Stage Collapse Dies

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A 22-year-old college student is the sixth person to die from injuries suffered when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair last weekend.

Jennifer Haskell, a senior at Ball State University, died Friday morning at a hospital in Indianapolis. Her uncle, Mike Whited, announced her death in a statement.

Along with several people who died immediately, at least four dozen others were injured by the stage crash in high winds during a concert Saturday night.

The fair reopened Monday after a memorial service to remember the victims of accident.

The fair's reopening after a day of being closed on Sunday comes as state officials widen their investigation of the cause of the stage's collapse and what role the weather, particularly such a forceful gust of wind, might have played.

Along with checking for signs of structural problems with the stage, investigators were reviewing whether fair and state officials acted swiftly enough in alerting concertgoers to a severe thunderstorm watch that was issued nearly three hours before the scheduled concert.

While many people fled as the massive structure fell under the force of the winds, hundreds rushed to help the victims, many trying to lift the stage to free people trapped underneath.

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.

"The funnel cloud came in and all of a sudden it started twirling around and the next thing I knew, I looked over my shoulder and the stand started coming down," witness Jay Keiser said.

Officials said the accident was the worst at the Indiana fairgrounds since a 1963 explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum killed 74 people attending an ice skating show.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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