Stage collapse at Canadian "Big Valley Jamboree" kills one, and seriously injures four others

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two probes have been initiated into the collapse of the Big Valley Jamboree stage which killed one person, placed four others in the critical care unit and caused injuries to 75 others in Camrose, Alberta located in Canada.

"We are trying to determine from what is left of the evidence what damage was done by the wind and what damage was down by rescue workers. We may not be able to make that determination. So that is going to hamper things. It will be tougher," Chris Chodan, spokesman for Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.

Panhandle Productions has brought in independent investigators to determine why the stage collapsed and to collect evidence. Due to the large number of people trapped under the stage the evidence had to be moved for rescue operations.

The stage collapsed shortly before 6:00 p.m. local time on Saturday killing 35-year-old Donna Moore, who was attending the festival from Lloydminster. Premier Global Productions supplies the stage for the event, which are transported from venue to venue in sections via three semi trailers. "It's their stage. In fact, I know this stage has been used by Paul McCartney, it's been used by Metallica, and by Tim McGraw on tour." said Larry Werner the producer from Panhandle Productions.

The stage is suspected to have been brought down by a phenomenon called plough wind, which produces winds similar to a tornado. This particular front hit speeds greater than 100 km/hr (62 mi/hr). A plough wind travels in narrow straight line paths rather than in circular formations, but causes damage similar to that inflicted by a tornado.

Alberta Municipal Affairs has initiated their investigation into the engineering specifications of the stage and emergency procedures. Alberta occupational health and safety is investigating building codes.

The Big Valley Jamboree is a large annual country music festival located in Camrose, Alberta, Canada which sees 25,000 people attending the four day event.


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