independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Dozens are injured after roof collapses at West End theatre

Emergency services attending the scene at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, central London

HUNDREDS of theatre-goers were evacuated after the ceiling of a packed London theatre collapsed midway through the evening performance last night.

At least 700 people were evacuated from the Apollo Theatre, in Shaftesbury Avenue, police confirmed.

Eighty-eight people were reported to have been injured, seven of them seriously.

Police said they were not aware of any fatalities.

Witnesses reported seeing members of the audience trapped, bleeding and with broken bones.

The interior of the grade II-listed building was left obscured by a cloud of dust and debris during the performance of 'The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time'. Actors were seen to interrupt their performance to point at the ceiling. Witnesses said they initially thought it was part of the show, before "seeing the look on the ushers' faces" and fleeing the sold-out performance.

Some of the casualties were seen being carried out on stretchers. Witnesses reported seeing other people being treated for broken bones, and wearing oxygen masks. One member of the audience said he was on the balcony when there was a "massive crash", with plaster "smashing down" on the stall below. "What it was like for the people down below, I can only imagine," he said. Audience member Hannah George, 29, said a part of the ceiling several metres square had fallen in front of her eyes.

"Everyone moved very quickly to the door but it wasn't every man for himself," she said.(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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