A man in his 30s has been killed after the stage collapsed at Downsview Park, ahead of Saturday’s scheduled Radiohead concert.
Police say one other person, a 45-year-old man, was rushed to hospital with a non-life threatening head injury.
Two other men received minor injuries.
“There were a number of people on the stage preparing for the concert…They were setting up, when the top portion of the stage collapsed on top of them,” said Cst. Tony Vella.
“Unfortunately four people were hurt. The remainder of the people, when they heard the stage come down, ran from the area.”
Vella says it’s too soon in the investigation to determine if charges will be laid.
Toronto Fire Services says its crew worked through a risky rescue operation.
“When we arrived we had reports of somebody trapped under the structure, so crews went into the structure, assisted with extricating that victim. Once it was realized there was no more victims to be rescued, we realized with an unstable structure we needed to remove ourselves from the area,” said Tony Bellavance, Platoon Chief, Toronto Fire.
At this point it’s not clear what caused the collapse, which happened around 4 p.m.
The Ministry of Labour has been called in to work with Toronto Police for the investigation.
The victim’s identity won’t be released until next of kin has been notified.
While the majority of fans hadn’t yet arrived for the evening Radiohead show, one witness described the pandemonium.
“I looked over to the stage to see how it was going with them setting up and all of a sudden I heard a little bit of a crack and the top part of the stage just kind of came down on top of everybody and I heard yelling, making sure everybody was accounted for and okay,” said witness James Price.
“It was kind of surreal just to watch the whole thing happen, you could see all the tarps or whatever they were fluttering as they were coming down.”
Police have shut down Carl Hall Road for the investigation, but it has since reopened.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances tonight’s at downsview park tonight has been cancelled. Fans are advised not to make their way to the venue,” Radiohead said via Twitter.
Ticket holders will be issued refunds. A message on Ticketmaster’s website says internet and phone orders will automatically be cancelled and refunded.
Toronto Police, concert promoter Live Nation and Downsview Park also sent out tweets announcing the cancellation:
— Toronto Police(@TorontoPolice) June 16, 2012
Tonight’s @Radiohead show has been cancelled. Please do not make your way down to the venue. More details to follow.
— Live Nation Ontario (@LiveNationON) June 16, 2012
Radiohead concert cancelled. There has been an incident, more details forthcoming. fb.me/1PA9Wn8vS
— Downsview Park (@downsviewpark) June 16, 2012
There have been a number of stage collapses in recent years.
Six people died last August when the stage collapsed at a Sugarland concert in Indianapolis; five died in Belgium when a storm swept in and toppled the stage at the Pukkelpop Festival.
In Canada, several people were injured when the stage went down at Bluesfest in Ottawa last July and one person died and more than a dozen were injured in 2009 when a powerful windstorm caused the main stage to collapse at the Big Valley Jamboree near Camrose.
With files from The Canadian Press