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One dead, dozens hurt after roof collapse at US venue

A 50-year-old man was killed and dozens more injured after a storm caused a theatre roof to collapse in Illinois at a packed heavy metal gig on Friday (31 March) night.

Around 260 people were present at the Apollo Theater, Belvidere, for The United States of Terror tour, headlined by four heavy metal bands — Crypta, Revocation, Skeletal Remains and Morbid Angel.

After Crypta’s opening set, the venue made an announcement that the show would need to take a brief pause before Morbid Angel took the stage, due to the ongoing extreme weather conditions.

Minutes after the initial announcement, at 19:55 local time, the full roof collapsed on top of the concertgoers, according to the New York Times.

More than 40 people were hospitalised, with five people suffering severe injuries. At least one person died in the incident. Belvidere fire chief Shawn Schadle reported that two of those impacted are suffering from life-threatening injuries.

Authorities believe concertgoers weren’t aware of the storm and tornado sirens due to the volume of music at the venue

According to the National Weather Service, the Apollo suffered “possible tornado damage.” A storm with 75 mph winds had been sweeping through the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region but authorities believe concertgoers weren’t aware of the storm and tornado sirens due to the volume of music at the venue.

“We would like to express our deepest and most sincerest heartfelt condolences to everyone in attendance at The Apollo Theater when a tornado ripped the roof from the venue and decimated downtown Belvidere,” reads a statement from the venue.

“Our hearts go out to the individuals, families and friends that were so tragically affected and sincerely thank everyone that so unselfishly stepped in to help those in need. We will continue to work with all local and national authorities to make sense of this travesty and ask that you keep everyone in your thoughts, prayers and well wishes.”

A series of deadly tornadoes ripped through parts of the southern and midwestern US in recent days, killing at least 32 people in total.

The states affected include Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Delaware and Alabama – many of which have declared a state of emergency.

Friday’s night of deadly tornadoes comes just one week after a rare, long-track twister killed 26 people in Mississippi.


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