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Stage collapses at Indiana high school, more than a dozen injured

Authorities said a large group of students was on the stage during the grand finale of a musical performance at a Indiana high school when the floor of the stage collapsed into the orchestra pit below.

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More than a dozen students suffered minor injuries after a stage packed with dancing and clapping youths collapsed during a musical performance at a central Indiana high school, authorities said Friday.

Capt. Charles Hollowell of the Westfield Police Department said all the students injured in the collapse Thursday evening were "doing really well," including a girl initially reported in critical condition. She was the only student still being treated at a hospital Friday morning, Hollowell said.

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Authorities said a large group of students was on the stage during the grand finale of the "American Pie" concert at Westfield High School when the floor of the stage collapsed into the orchestra pit below.

Westfield Washington Schools Superintendent Mark Keen said it appeared that a cover that is placed over the pit for some productions had given way.

The State Fire Marshal's office, Indiana State Police and Indiana's workplace-safety agency were investigating thecollapse and would "make every effort to prevent this or worse from happening in the future," Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement.

Video supplied to The Associated Press by Zach Rader — who was in the audience — shows more than a dozen students dancing and clapping on stage while a female student sings along to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

Most students then suddenly plummet out of sight, the music cuts off and screams are heard.

Blake Rice, an 18-year-old senior at the school, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Indianapolis, said he was playing guitar in the performance, a tribute to '80s music.

As the last song began, Rice said he took a step back to allow more students onto the stage. He saw the stage collapse but did not fall through.

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"At first, it didn't seem real. It didn't really register with me what happened," Rice said.

Rice said people in the audience immediately ran toward the stage and began pulling debris off students. Auditorium staff pulled people out of the pit, he said.

"I realized how lucky I was," Rice said. "Another 3 seconds and that could have been me."


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