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Gloucester man's shock at Apollo Theatre ceiling collapse

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: December 20, 2013

sheehy

Eyewitness: Patrick Sheehy

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A GLOUCESTER man feared terrorists had struck when he saw injured people pouring out of the Apollo Theatre after the ceiling fell in.

Patrick Sheehy, 31, originally from Abbeymead, described the worrying scene after 80 people were injured at the West End venue.

“Last night we were walking from Carnaby to China Town," he said. "As we got to the top of Rupert Street we began to see people coming out of the side doors of The Apollo. It was alarming because we saw a woman running with two cages with rats in them – which due to the name of the show presume it had animals in it.

"At this point we had no idea of the chaos inside, but the sound of people was getting louder. As we turned onto Shaftesbury Avenue it was clear we were witnessing an emergency situation.

"Crowds of people had backed off to the other side of the street and emergency services were quick on the scene. I remember a mother comforting to clearly distraught teenage girls and did look like quite a young audience had been present.

"We saw one older man emerge from the main doors in what should have been a grey suit, but was brown as he was covered in dust.

"He looked in shock and was visibly shaking as the fire service led him away. It was at this point we decided to get away from the area, it was unclear what had happened and thoughts of terrorism come to mind.”

Surveyors said the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre is "sound" after 80 people were injured, seven of them seriously, when sections of it collapsed on the audience during a packed show.

Eyewitnesses described "chaos and panic" as parts of the theatre "began to crumble down" around them just after 8pm last night.

Around 10 square metres of plaster from the Grade II-listed West End theatre plummeted on to the stalls below, dragging a section of the balcony with it, striking members of the audience and filling the theatre with clouds of thick dust.

More than 700 people were inside the Apollo - which was 45 minutes into the National Theatre's performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time - when members of the audience started screaming as it appeared parts of the ceiling caved in.

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2 comments

  • nedaemch  |  December 20 2013, 5:51PM

    It must be a good play to bring the house down like that.

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  • supernova1  |  December 20 2013, 4:54PM

    Eyewitness: Patrick Sheehy'..........errr, no, he was just passing. "We saw one older man emerge in what should have been a grey suit, but was brown as he was covered in dust. He looked in shock and was visibly shaking as the fire service led him away. It was at this point we decided to get away from the area.................................................................................' I'm reminded of the woman who went to the aid of Fusilier Lee Rigby, despite the two butchers being next to her and haranguing her. I wonder how fast he would have run in THAT situation!

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