An investigation is underway into the collapse of a ceiling at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue around 8.15pm last night. More than 80 people were injured, seven of them seriously. There were no fatalities.
The collapse occurred during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Reports say that some audience members noticed a creaking sound halfway through the first half of the performance before part of the ceiling collapsed bringing a lighting rig down.
A number of people were initially trapped by the collapse but all were rescued shortly afterward. A triage centre was set up in the neighbouring Queens theatre and some of the injured taken to hospital. London's Air Ambulance was also in attendance. London Fire Brigade released a statement:
“We believe around 720 people were in the theatre at the time. A section of the theatre’s ceiling collapsed onto the audience who were watching the show. The ceiling took parts of the balconies down with it. Firefighters worked really hard in very difficult conditions and I’d like to pay tribute to them. They rescued people from the theatre, made the area safe and then helped ambulance crews with the injured. 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.”
Photo by David Bank in the Londonist Flickr pool.