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Seventy-six people were injured, seven seriously, after part of the ornate plaster ceiling at London’s Apollo Theatre collapsed during a packed performance Thursday night.

The audience was 40 minutes into the nearly sold out performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, when the accident occurred. No cast members were hurt.

The London Ambulance Services said 58 people were taken to four hospitals, many in city buses. Seven patrons suffered serious injuries but none were thought to be life-threatening. The others were described as “walking wounded,” with broken bones, cuts or contusions.

Firefighters evacuated several injured audience members after about 100 square feet of the ceiling came crashing down, fire officials said. They were hit by plasterwork, wooden beams, a lighting rig and other debris. More than 700 people were inside at the time.

“In my time as a fire officer, I’ve never seen an incident like this,” said Fire Brigade Officer Nick Harding, who manages the nearby Kingsland Station.

Audience members initially thought the collapse was part of the show.

Martin Bostock was in the audience with his family, and said “complete chaos” erupted.

“At first we thought it was part of the show,” he told Sky News. “Then I got hit on the head.”

The cast interrupted the show during a seaside scene to point at the creaking ceiling. That led another theater-goer to believe it was part of the performance. “But then there was a lot of crashing noise and part of the roof caved in,” he told the BBC.

Authorities are still investigating the cause. About an hour before, a thunderstorm drenched London, but authorities are not yet sure if the rain could have contributed to the collapse.

We wish the victims of this accident a speedy recovery.


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