Authorities are trying to figure out who is to blame from this weekend's tragedy in Indiana when a stage that was set up for country group Sugarland collapsed and killed five people.
Heavy winds caused the stage to topple and thousands of pounds of metal scaffolding fell atop several dozens of people. The scaffolding, which was victimized by winds of 60-70 mph, landed directly on "The Sugarpit," which is a place that is reserved for Sugarland's most ardent fans.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, authorities are trying to figure out what happened when the stage toppled over. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has thus far called the tragedy a "fluke that no one could have foreseen."
However, not everyone agrees with that assessment. In an interview with Rollingstone.com, Mike Smith, senior vice president of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, said there was definitely enough of an advanced warning for state and fair authorities to act on the weather.
"Everyone keeps saying that this was a fluke - that it couldn't have been foreseen. It was quite foreseeable. The State Fair should have had someone making a call that if a weather warning was issued, the area would have been evacuated immediately," Smith said.
This is not the first tragedy of this nature to occur this year. American rock band Cheap Trick's July 17 show at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest in Canada had a similar incident where the roof of its stage fell off because of violent winds. In Tulsa, Okla. The Flaming Lips video screen flew off because of 80 mph winds. In both cases, there were no casualties or injuries. The 12,000 at the Indiana State Fair this past weekend were not as lucky.
Among the casualties of the terrible accident were Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah, Indiana; Glenn Goodrich, 49, of Indianapolis; Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago; and Nathan Byrd, 51, of Indianapolis. All but Byrd died on scene, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
In the case of Cheap Trick, the Ottawa stage builder, Groupe Berger, was blamed for the tragedy. The builder of the Indiana stage is still unknown.
After being closed on Sunday, the fair reopened on Monday with a memorial service for the fallen victims of the tragedy. Daniels and Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman was in attendance.