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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 14 August 2022

Stage collapses under students just as singer hits 'Don't Stop Believing' high note

16 students sustained minor injuries in the fall.

Source: RT America/YouTube

THERE WAS SHOCK at an Indiana high school Thursday after 16 students sustained injuries when the stage collapsed during a musical performance.

A video of the performance at Westfield High School shows a group of teens dancing enthusiastically on the small stage singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. As a female student hits the high note in the song, the stage can be seen collapsing under the students and they are swallowed up by a large hole.

It was later revealed that the orchestra pit cover on the stage had collapsed and an investigation into the cause of the incident is now underway.

Most of the students suffered minor injuries. One girl was initially reported to be in critical condition but is now said to be doing well. She was the only student still being treated at hospital yesterday.

Blake Rice, an 18-year-old senior who was playing guitar when the stage collapsed, said he thought the pit cover was replaced within the past two years after it was damaged and interconnecting panels that comprise the structure became warped and too uneven for use. He said the pit cover has vertical supports and crossbars beneath it that are similar to scaffolding.

Rice said the cover had been used without incident during two rehearsals before Thursday’s performance.

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“There was no indication anything would go wrong, but on Thursday night, well, it was just a little too much for the floor to handle at that point,” he said. “Everyone had a lot of energy and was jumping up and down a lot more than they normally would, just from adrenaline and everything.”
J.T. Coopman, executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, said he expected the accident to “jolt people into action” at schools statewide to review the safety of stages.

“That would be the direction that I would be giving my maintenance staff: ‘Do we have a structure like this? How often do we inspect it? Are we sure that it’s absolutely safe before we use it?’” he said.

- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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