UK & World News

  • 20 December 2013, 12:06

Apollo Theatre Collapse: People Tell Of Horror

Audience members who witnessed the theatre ceiling collapse in London have told how they initially thought the incident was part of the show.

Nearly 80 people were injured - seven seriously - when large chunks of plaster crashed on top of people seated in the stalls at the Apollo Theatre.

Theatre-goers were left crying and bleeding as parts of the historic venue's ceiling began to crumble away.

Martin Bostock, who was in the audience with his family, received a head injury after he was hit by falling debris.

He told Sky News: "It was just terrifying and awful. I think the front part of the balcony fell down. At first we thought it was part of the show. Then I got hit on the head.

"It was complete chaos in the theatre. We got out with cuts and bruises. I think most people did."

Members of the cast of the Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time shouted a warning at the audience as parts of the ceiling appeared to cave in.

Eyewitnesses heard a loud "creaking" which some initially thought was also part of the performance.

Khalil Anjarwalla, 29, said he, his heavily pregnant wife and her parents managed to escape from the theatre after "kilos of concrete plummeted from the ceiling".

"I was in the upper circle with my family when, about 45 minutes in, people started shouting and screaming," he said. "Within an instant the whole roof seemed to come down.

"We initially thought it was part of the show. Thankfully we are all OK. My wife is seven months pregnant but she is OK. We feel very blessed."

Photographs from inside the theatre showed heavy beams and wood strewn across seats, which were coated in debris and dust.

Sean Walsh, 41, from north London, said: "We were right up in the gods and a couple in the group below just said, 'Go!'

"We thought they were just leaving because maybe they were bored, and my girlfriend thought maybe they had seen a mouse. But then the whole of the ceiling just came down."

Libby Grundy, 65, said: "There was a bang, and then a huge cloud of dust. At first I thought it was a special effect.

"I heard somebody on the stage say, 'Oh bloody hell', because they must have seen it."

Dee Kearney said: "We were three or four seats from the stage when an actor turned around and said 'Watch out!' We initially thought it was part of the play.

"Then what we felt was debris falling on us, a loud bang, and then all of a sudden there was a coat of dust that came on us."

She added: "It was a thick cloud of dust, so you couldn't actually tell what was happening. You knew it was coming from above but you didn't know what was actually happening."

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