Hundreds of people were packed into this West End theater for an evening of holiday fun that just ended in a nightmare. London's Apollo Theater collapsed during a performance at about 8:00 p.m. GMT. So far there are 30 casualties including walking wounded, London Ambulance says. Other reports say 20 to 40 casualties. All trapped people have been freed. Witnesses say a dome at the center of the theater collapsed onto the audience below, but authorities won't say whether it was the roof, ceiling, or a balcony that collapsed.
Audience members were watching a performance of the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when they heard loud crackling noises. Mom Amy Lecoz, who was there with two teenage children, said, "The entire dome roof fell down on the audience just in front of us. We were protected by the balcony above and we ran. People started screaming. We thought it was water ... We thought it was a part of the show. I grabbed my kids and ran."
Other survivors report that the theater went dark and there was dust everywhere. Ushers yelled, "Out, out, out!" Actors on stage were stunned. Fortunately, emergency personnel were on the scene within minutes.
The Apollo Theater (named after the Greek god) has 775 seats over four levels. It first opened in 1901.
No word yet on any deaths, but we dearly hope there haven't been any. The rescue is still underway as of this writing. Our thoughts go out to everyone involved.
UPDATE: Police say about 76 people were injured, though many were treated on site. Meanwhile, 7 of those people were injured seriously. No death have been reported. It appears the ceiling fell 5 stories, but an investigation is currently underway to find out exactly what caused the collapse in the century-old building.
Image via Elliot Brown/Flickr