Information has been updated regarding a roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End on December 19. According to the Guardian, police were called to the theater shortly after 8:15PM [3:15 EST] during a performance of the hit play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Sky News has reported that 76 patients were treated, of whom 58 were taken to four hospitals. Of those, seven suffered serious injuries, with 51 minor injuries.
Police took over three London buses to transport the injured to hospital. A temporary triage center was set up at the nearby Gielgud Theater. The Metropolitan Police's Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett said there was "no suggestion at this stage that (the collapse) was a result of a criminal act." Investigations have commenced.
Nimax, owners of the Apollo, said in a statement: "This is a shocking and upsetting incident. Our thoughts are with the audience and staff who were in the theatre and their families. We're very grateful to the emergency services for their tremendous work and to our staff who helped with the evacuation."
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), which represents London theater producers, owners and managers reassured in a statement: "Our theatres entertain over 32,000 people in central London every night and all theatres take the safety of their audience, performers and staff very seriously. Every theatre undergoes rigorous safety checks and inspections by independent experts, and incidents like last night are extremely rare. At a meeting today all the major theatre owners have confirmed that their safety inspections and certificates are up to date, and will co-operate fully with the authorities to reassure the public that their theatres are safe. All other London theatres remain open for business today and in the coming weeks."
Performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time have been canceled through January 4, 2014. Ticket holders should contact their original point of purchase.
News of the collapse first surfaced on Twitter, with @BreakingNewsUK reporting that theatergoers found themselves trapped and that eight fire engines rushed to the scene. Some audience members were escorted from the building covered in dust and debris. Eyewitnesses described a "curtain of dust" falling inside the theater amid an "extraordinary" sound during the collapse.
Martin Bostock, who was in the audience with his family, said "complete chaos" erupted in the theater, according to the Associated Press. "At first we thought it was part of the show," he told Sky News. "Then I got hit on the head."
According to the theater’s official website, the Apollo, which is located at 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, opened in February 1901 and has 775 seats on four levels, with the majority of seating in the Stalls and Dress Circle. A spokesman said that the theater was almost full, with 720 people in attendance.