Indiana Fair Deaths: 5 Killed at Sugarland Show

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 15, 2011 12:54 PM

Concerts and fairs are meant to be fun. But, tragedy struck a recent Indiana fair. Deaths, injuries and mayhem occurred when a stage collapsed prior to a Sugarland concert.

Over the weekend, around 12,000 fans had gathered to watch the concert, reports CNN. Sara Bareilles, the opening act for Sugarland, had just finished performing.

That's when a gust of wind sent metal scaffolding from the stage onto the "Sugarpit," killing five and injuring about 40 others.

The cause of the accident is still unclear. Authorities are investigating the reason, if any, behind the stage's collapse, reports CNN.

It's possible that the weather was a factor. The collapse occurred around four minutes after authorities told the crowd that they needed to seek shelter. There were forecasts for heavy rains and strong winds. The National Weather Service forecasted winds of 60-70 mph.

Could there be liability in this tragic accident? It depends. If investigators discover some sort of structural flaw or defect in the stage's design, whoever maintains or operates the stage may be liable. It all depends on the circumstances and facts, which are not entirely known as of yet.

It's also possible that city authorities, or fair organizers, may be liable. They could be found negligent if it's discovered that they should have issued a warning earlier. Or, if it's found that they did not take enough precautions to ensure safety.

Then again, it could be that nobody is liable. After all, Sara Bareilles said the weather changed in "a matter of minutes" and the "stage collapsed in a matter of seconds."

Whether anyone is found liable or not, one thing is certain: the Indiana fair deaths have caused pain and suffering for the victims as well as their loved ones. As a somber reminder of the tragedy, the Indiana fair reopened today with a public memorial for the dead. And, music group Sugarland and singer Sara Bareilles both canceled their upcoming concerts following the deaths, CNN reports.

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