88 injured as Apollo Theatre collapses in London's West End
- Getty Images
London’s West End was in shock last night after part of the Apollo theatre collapsed leaving 88 people injured. Part of the theatre’s ceiling gave way during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, taking down sections of the balcony. 7 people were reported to have serious injuries, although there were mercifully no fatalities.
A makeshift rescue operation swung into action. A London bus rushed many of the victims to hospital while injuries were treated in the nearby Queens and Gielgud theatre.
Many of the 720 audience members had initially thought that the creaking noises from the building preceding the collapse had been part of the play. Initial indications suggest that water seeping into beams from a storm had been responsible for the collapse, but they remain unconfirmed. A surveyor is expected to deliver a preliminary report this morning
London fire brigade's Nick Harding said: "We believe around 720 people were in the theatre at the time. A section of the theatre's ceiling collapsed on to the audience who were watching the show. The ceiling took parts of the balconies down with it.
"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.
"A number of people were injured and ambulance crews are working hard to look after them. The latest information is that there were around 80 walking wounded, many of whom had head injuries. Around five have been taken to hospital with more serious injuries.
“In my time as a fire officer I’ve never seen an incident like this. I imagine lots of people were out enjoying the show in the run-up to Christmas. My thoughts go out to all those affected.”
London Ambulance Service incident commander Maria Smith said: “When I arrived it was dark and extremely dusty - people were lying on the floor of the theatre.
“We very quickly set up a casualty clearing area in the foyer of the theatre - the walking wounded were assessed and treated there.”
Simon Stephens, the playwright behind the adaptation thanked people on Twitter for messages of support “on this sad and strange night” while actor Matt Tait tweeted
“Thoughts are with all the audience. Horrific and unbelievable,”