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Indiana State Fair Tragedy: Review Finds Stage Not Built to Code

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An engineering review released Thursday found that the stage rigging that collapsed and killed seven people during last summer’s Indiana State Fair wasn’t built strong enough to meet state building codes.

Scott Nacheman, a vice president of engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, told the state fair commission that the metal rigging structure didn’t meet requirements that it withstand wind gusts of 68 mph.

Nacheman said winds gusts reached an estimated 59 mph when the rigging collapsed onto fans awaiting a concert by the country duo Sugarland. Dozens of people were also injured in the Aug. 13 collapse.

The firm’s analysis found that parts of the rigging’s support system began to give way at wind gusts of 33 mph.

“It no longer has the ability to support its own weight,” Nacheman said. “Once gravity had taken over there was essentially no way the structure could support itself.”

The state hired Thornton Tomasetti to review the stage structure and Washington-based Witt Associates to investigate the fair’s emergency plans and response. Both firms were presenting reports to the fair commission on Thursday.

Fair commission Chairman Andre Lacy said as the meeting started that the investigations weren’t meant to place blame for the collapse.

“We put ourselves willingly and publicly under the microscope in hopes of preventing a tragedy like that which happened Aug. 13,” Lacy said.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Sugarland and companies involved with building the stage. Band members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were scheduled to begin giving depositions about the collapse Thursday in West Virginia.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Watch Sugarland Pay Tribute to Indiana State Fair Victims

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