Posts

Truss Falls at the Feast of the Pinion Party in Lages, Brazil

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Well, it seems I have spoken just a moment too soon.  At least no one was hurt, apparently.  There’s not a lot of news on the accident, but it seems as though it was the design and a rigged piece of gear that failed.

In Lages, Brazil, a truss component of a stage design fell last night onto the stage deck – from the article at Porto Menina:

Lages / SC – The Central Committee Organizing (CCO) of the 25th National Party Pinion reports that the unforeseen event that occurred yesterday afternoon Tuesday (27) at about 16:30, involving the Stage National solved ASAP not affecting the show Alexandre Pires and SPC.

The problem was the breaking of a part of the column structure lighting, when changing the map of light needed to show the SPC, remembering that each show has a different map.

Also said that the show just happened in To Thwart National Stage from 22:30, as scheduled.

More news as I can find it on this accident — but I guess we have to count one for the disaster pile.

Thanks to Mike Mallinson for this one.  The original article is here.

April 2013’s Top 20 Posts

April 2013 has not been a fully happy period in our industry, at least on the accidents front.  Unfortunately I have to report that a lot of the top 20 posts that were read in 193 countries all over the world were stories I reported where injury or death to our stage hand brothers and sisters.  At least their names will never be forgotten, at least by me.  Ever.  In order to go where we’re going, we have to remember how we got here.  It’s not all negative, but get ready to relive some disaster in our business.

The most read post in April of 2013 from JimOnLight.com:

A Rigger Dies after a 100 Foot Fall at AT&T Center in San AntonioRIGGERS-NOT-SKYDIVERS

April 2013’s Most Read Post #2:
The TO THE ARCHIVES link on JOL!
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #3:
San Antonio Rigger Falls 100 Feet to Death at AT&T Center
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #4:
Lighting 101:  Luminance VS. Illuminance
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #5:
New Footage of the Demolition of the Famous Texas Stadium
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #6:
Let’s Be Safer, At Least in the Entertainment Industry
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #7:
A Time-Lapse of the Maroon 5 Overexposed Tour Load-In
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #8:
Memorial Fund Established for Dean Williams, Rigger Who Fell at AT&T Center in San Antonio
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #9:
UPDATE – Ultra Music Festival LED Wall Accident
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #10:
Jim Hutchison Leaves CAST Software, Opens Lumen Buddha Studios, A Lighting Industries Think-Tank and Design Studio
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #11:
INDUSTRY ACCIDENT – Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Video Wall Falls on Workers
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #12:
Something Horribly Wrong is Going On at Wicked Lasers, UPDATED
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #13:
Recommended Reading on JOL!
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #14:
Radiohead Stage Collapse in Toronto — 1 Dead, 3 Wounded
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #15:
Gaffers and Grips — DIY Gaff Tape Key Fob
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #16:
LER:  Luminaire Efficacy Rating
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #17:
DARTH FADER
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #18:
LED Freerunning:  Lighting Emitting Dudes
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #19:
Mycena Lux Coeli — The Coolest Mushroom I Have Ever Seen!
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April 2013’s Most Read Post #20:
Pilobolus’ Shadowland Review
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$35,000 Per Life, and A Search Warrant for IATSE #30 – Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Update

So, it’s been a little while since we’ve had to see the images of the Indiana State Fair collapse during the Sugarland show on the grandstand. I want everybody to see some of these images again, I think the only way to freshly get it in your head is to see what happened.

First this happened:

Then all of these people did this:

I just read two articles on the collapse and the aftermath. One of them said that the families of the fallen concertgoers were each given $35,000 for their dead loved one and that the Indiana State Fair attendance is lagging due to the “incident,” the other article said that the IATSE Local in Indianapolis, IATSE #30, is experiencing some grind from the lawyers from the state of Indiana. From an article at the Indy Star:

Lawyers for the state and a stagehands union are working on an agreement to turn over documents relating to the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

A lawyer for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 said Wednesday that he was willing to hand over apprenticeship training files on stagehands who were working at the fair when the accident occurred Aug. 13.

Local 30 stopped the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration from conducting a search of its Indianapolis union hall last week. The agency had obtained a search warrant requesting employment disciplinary records, apprenticeship training records, certificates, licenses and other documents.

“We are trying to resolve this in a nonadversarial way,” said William Groth, the lawyer for the union. “We want to cooperate. We just think a search warrant is the nuclear option.”

Marion Superior Court Judge David Shaheed on Wednesday extended a stay of the search warrant until Nov. 3.

Chetrice Mosely, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, said “both sides have agreed to enter a discussion as to how to resolve this. Our goal is to get the records so we can do a comprehensive investigation,” she said.

This is a real bummer. I don’t really have much to comment on about this, I just wanted to share these two stories, as this is still fresh in the hearts of the families and IA brothers and sisters still mourning the loss of their cherished.

Then there was this article

INDIANAPOLIS — Two high-level investigations into the fatal Indiana State Fair stage collapse may not be released in time to help prepare for next year’s fair, the fair’s director said Tuesday.

Indiana State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye told a group of lawmakers that information from separate investigations into the stage collapse that killed seven people may not be complete until mid-April.

The state has typically done much of its work for its three-week-long summer fair by that point.

The state hired international engineers Thornton Tomasetti to investigate the wreckage of the stage.

The state also hired Witt Associates to assess the fair’s emergency preparations. Witt has completed much of its work but will wait until the engineers complete their investigation before issuing a report together with them, Hoye said.

“We’re progressing right now with looking at our emergency preparations, we’re doing a lot of front end work,” Hoye said after the meeting. “I think that report will clarify and put a snapshot on some of the things we need to do.”

There is more to this article of course, here – what we should be taking away from this whole thing is the amazing amount of bureaucratic inflighting and policy clouding will be involved with the results of the collapse by that time.  Let’sd hope not much – but we can all watch the news and determine how good this situation is going to come about once it becomes filled with politics.  I sincerely hope for the sake of the hearts of those involved that this time is the one exception.

 

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Claims A Seventh Victim

I want to make sure that no one ever forgets these two images:

Unfortunately, this horrible accident has claimed its seventh life, and now Meagan Toothman’s family is donating her organs, perhaps later today.  Here’s another image not to forget:

Rest in peace, Meagan.  Thanks for donating your organs so that others may improve their quality of life.  We’re really sorry that you had to have this decision made for you.  If you would like to know more about Meagan, check out Meagan’s family’s website on Meagan’s process.  Unfortunately, you know how the story turned out already.

Just a quick recap of some stories you should be reading about this disaster in Indiana:

Boo’s thoughts on the Indiana Stage Collapse

 

Indiana’s Self Policing Raises Questions – this one is kinda great, just because it calls into question the procedures and practices being used by Indiana Fair Investigators.  From the article:

Other states in similar positions have formed special commissions with outside experts to handle investigations, including of a bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University and the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels so far hasn’t mentioned the idea, and instead has repeatedly referred to the wind gust that toppled the stage but spared other nearby structures as a freak occurrence that couldn’t have been anticipated.

“The fair has an interest in protecting itself,” attorney Jerry Miniard of Erlanger, Ky., who is representing an injured girl, said Thursday. “Why in the world would you let someone who may be responsible investigate themselves?”

Miniard said he is a friend of the father of 10-year-old Jade Walcott, whose skull was crushed by the falling stage. He questioned how thorough the probe will be given that it’s nearly all being done in-house.

“The state of Indiana is basically investigating itself,” he said.

Judy Nadler, a former mayor of Santa Clara, Calif., who is a senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said that could be a mistake.

“There’s this sort of automatic default to say, we have people here internally who can take a look at this … but for something so closely affiliated with the state, it would be wise to call upon someone who doesn’t have any even perceived conflict of interest,” Nadler said. She suggested bringing in someone from outside the state, perhaps even an outside regulator.

“I think it really is such a significant event … it requires a level of independence to fully discern the facts and to fully convey to the public that this was a fair and thorough and impartial and nonpolitical look at what happened,” she said.

State fair officials did announce this week that they had hired New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti Inc. to review the stage’s design and construction, but Miniard questioned how far-ranging that probe might be since the state will determine the scope of the investigation.

“The state of Indiana is in complete control over the investigation,” Miniard said. “And the state’s interests are possibly different than those people who were injured or killed.

Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies conducting their own investigations will all report to the fair commission. “I am quite sure that everybody is going to be satisfied with the thoroughness of this investigation,” he said. “And nobody wants the answers more than us.”

You know what, I’m not touching that one today.

Also, see the article Indiana State Fair’s Disaster Preparedness Plan is One Page Long.

You still think this is a fluke, Governor Daniels?

Pukkelpop Festival Update – Five Dead, 70+ Hurt

This has not been a great week for news folks, I am so sorry.  I would much rather report on things like training baby bunnies how to program a GrandMA2, turning Congressmen and Senators into truck loaders and box pushers, and making a puppy the head of research and development for NASA.  I don’t know about any of that, but something to turn the mood from disaster to something other than disaster.

What has been posted so far on the wire about Pukkelpop is that now there are five people killed, seventy plus injured.  The Pukkelpop Festival has been officially cancelled.  From the Pukkelpop website, translated to English:

The festival site is completely closed. Today , all belongings from the lockers still be picked up at the information booth at the main entrance.From tomorrow we gather all belongings from the lockers and bring it in at the police van Hasselt, where they can be collected. The service lost property during the office hours at 011/26 73 15.  The campground is open until 24:00 on Saturday, August 20 . Tents and camping equipment can be picked up until then.

Just a few bits of information to clarify – people are reporting Pukkelpop as in Brussels – it’s actually in Hasselt, Belgium.

From the article at the Washington Post:

The death toll is up to five after a stage collapsed during a violent storm at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival. The rest of the festival, which was scheduled to run through Saturday and attract around 60,000 fans to see bands such as Foo Fighters, Eminem, James Blake and more, was canceled after the incident, which also left 75 people injured. This marks the fourth major stage collapse incident of the summer, coming on the heels of last weekend’s tragedy at the Indiana State Fair.

From the AP wire, this time from Billboard:

The death toll rose to five and 75 injuries as a result of a fierce storm that hit the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium yesterday (Aug. 18), causing three stage tents to collapse.

At 5:00 a.m. this morning, the organizers decided to cancel the rest of the festival out of respect for the victims and those mourning. The public has bee advised to leave the campsites and extra busses and trains are being ordered to evacuate the 40,000 remaining concertgoers.

On Thursday (August 18) at approximately 6:30 p.m., the festival and campground in Kiewit, Belgium, near the town of Hasselt roughly 50 miles east of Brussels, was hit with a massive rain and hailstorm that damaged three stages (The Chateau Tent, Boiler Room and Wablieft Tent) and the festival’s infrastructure as trees fell and debris swirled about.

Ambulances and cranes were called to the scene for help. The injured were brought to the Hasselt hospital, others to the Kiewit Sports complex for treatment. One festivalgoer said the cell phone network was completely jammed adding to the confusion.

The A.P. reported that officials said at a joint press conference on Friday with Hilde Claes, the mayor Hasselt and festival organizer Chokri Mahassin that meteorologists did not predict a storm of that intensity. “I have seen many tropical storms, Mahassine said, “but this was unprecedented.”

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme offered condolences to the families of the victims and said authorities would continue to provide assistance in caring for the injured.

The city of Hasselt has issued an emergency information number 011-32-11-23 97 11.

Photos from the aftermath – I’ve reposted just a few, but please visit the International Business Times website for a humbling set of photos:

More report from the NYT:

“This started out as a huge festival with happy people partying and ended up as our biggest nightmare,” Hilde Claes, the mayor of Hasselt, and the festival organizer, Chokri Mahassine, said in a statement released Friday morning. “We want to emphasize that what happened here was exceptional and unforeseeable.”

The Associated Press reported that at a joint news conference on Friday, the mayor and the organizers of the festival said meteorologists had not predicted such an intense storm. “I have seen many tropical storms,” Mr. Mahassine said, “but this was unprecedented.”

Those who attended on Thursday night said they had never experienced weather so severe.

Christophe Van Impe, a Belgian journalist attending the event, said the storm hit just an hour after he had seen the group Explosions in the Sky perform. “It was like a scene out of the film ‘Twister,’ ” he told a Belgian newspaper, La Capital, in a firsthand account published on that paper’s Web site on Friday. “The audience began to panic, especially when two enormous pylons holding up a giant screen collapsed.”

“All of a sudden, a 15-meter rip appeared in the tent behind the artists, who ran for it. That’s when the structure collapsed onto the audience,” he wrote.

Another journalist present at the scene, Nicolas Capart, said the sky turned green, then yellow and then black as the storm intensified. “The field we were in was very exposed,” Capart told a live blog hosted by La Libre Belgique, a Belgian newspaper, on Friday. “There was nothing to block the wind. I thought we were in the eye of a cyclone.” Hail the size of table tennis balls fell while trees crashed down on cars, Mr. Capart told the blog by phone from the Pukkelpop event.

Many of those camping out to attend the rock festival were forced to spend the night in the flooded fields and were still struggling on Friday to leave the area, amid huge traffic jams.

Dr. Pascal Vranckx of Jessa Hospital in Hasselt said on Friday that many of those injured had been hit on the head by debris, and that three patients were in critical condition at the hospital, “fighting for their lives.”

“Those seriously injured have wounds caused by different objects which flew through the air, by debris and by trees,” Dr. Vranckx said, according to an article published online Friday by La Libre Belgique. “The people in a critical condition are suffering from head, chest and stomach wounds, which could cause hemorrhages.”

Stay tuned, I’ll keep posting updates as I get them.