Nearly 90 people were injured in London's Apollo Theatre on Thursday when part of the ceiling collapsed during a performance, Reuters reports. No fatalities were reported as result of the accident which brought the city's West End theatre district to a standstill.
Emergency services said 88 people were injured, while the number of "walking wounded" was 81. There were many with head injuries, and seven people were taken to hospital with more serious injuries.
"We heard a creak, somebody screamed, somebody from over there said, 'Look out!' and then the ceiling kind of creased in the middle and then just collapsed," Hannah, whose husband had gotten one of the last pairs of tickets to the performance in the 775-seat theater, said, as quoted by CNN.
The collapse, which occured during a performance of the highly popular play "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," caused masonry and debri to fall. Around 720 people including a slew of families were watching the play.
"A section of the theatre's ceiling collapsed onto the audience who were watching the show. The ceiling took parts of the balconies down with it," Nick Harding of the London Fire Brigade said.
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"Specialist urban search and rescue crews were also called to the scene to make sure no one was trapped. Fortunately all those who were trapped have been rescued and treated for injuries or taken to hospital," he added.
Witnesses said the ceiling in the four-storey auditorium had simply collapsed during the performance, sending those inside into a panic when they realized it was not part of the play.
Steve George, 29, who was seated near the top of the theater, told Reuters: "We saw the ceiling give way and it just dropped down onto the stalls. There was dust everywhere and people were screaming."
"I have no idea how many people would have been injured," said George, a cinema manager who had taken his wife Hannah to the performance for her birthday.
"It became like a black mist with people walking over me, added Michelle Chew, another member of the audience.