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Officials Investigate London Theater Collapse

  • VOA News

A police officer stands on duty next to a notice board is wrapped in police tape outside the Apollo theatre on the morning after part of it's ceiling collapsed on spectators as they watched a performance, in central London, Dec. 20, 2013.
Investigators in London are trying to figure out why part of the ceiling of a theater collapsed mid-performance Thursday, injuring at least 88 people at a nearly sold-out show.

Officials say it is not clear whether a downpour of rain just prior to the incident had contributed to the collapse. Police said there was no indication the collapse was the result of any deliberate act or attack.

London police told VOA there were 81 so-called "walking wounded" and that seven others were taken to the hospital following the incident at the Apollo Theater. No fatalities have been reported.

Rescue workers at the scene said all those trapped by the collapse in the century-old, 775-seat auditorium have been freed.

London's National Theatre, which produces the show, says performances have been canceled for Friday and Saturday.

The collapse occurred during a Thursday evening performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a family-oriented show about a teenaged detective.

Witnesses said the ceiling made cracking noises and then simply collapsed during the performance, sending those inside the theater into a panic when they realized it was not part of the play. Theater-goers said they were enveloped by a thick coat of dust that left them unable to see. Ushers helped the crowds evacuate the building.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that he was "grateful for the fast work of the emergency services in helping the injured."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.