80 punters have been injured after the ceiling of London’s historic Apollo Theatre collapsed midway through a show last night, with the intricate plaster work crumbling and taking out down part of the lighting rig and several balconies.
Witnesses heard a cracking noise at the Shaftesbury Avenue venue at approximately 8:15pm, which was showing the stage adaptation of the novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, before the ceiling came down on the estimated crowd of 720.
Attendee Amy Lecoz told BBC News that she initially thought the incident was a part of the show.
“The entire dome roof fell down on the audience just in front of us. We were protected by the balcony above and we ran. People started screaming. We thought it was water… We thought it was a part of the show. I grabbed my kids and ran.”
8 fire engines, 50 firefighters, 25 ambulance crews and an air ambulance attended the scene, freeing trapped concertgoers from the wreckage. London Fire Brigade have confirmed that their “search is now complete”, with 4 of the 80 casualties described as having serious injuries, none of which are life-threatening.
Firefighter Nick Harding from Kingsland Fire Station said he’d never seen anything like it:
“Firefighters worked really hard in very difficult conditions… 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.”
The Apollo was built in 1901, with the four-level venue seating 775.