Friday, April 2, 2010

Elton's Stage Collapses in Mexico - 3 Crew Hurt

Three construction workers were injured when part of a stage being set up for an Elton John concert collapsed at the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico.

One of the workers was hospitalised with a broken leg while the other two were treated for minor injuries after the upper lighting rails of the 262ft-high metal rigging had collapsed onto the stage area. The rails are used to hold spotlights and other technical equipment.

The British singer was not present when the accident occurred on Wednesday, and the concert, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, has not been cancelled. Sir Elton was in London attending the fifth birthday of the Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre with his husband David Furnish.

Francisco de Anda, a spokesman for Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, which is in charge of the country's pre-Hispanic sites, said that there was no damage to the 1,200-year-old Mayan ruins, which were named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Mr De Anda said that the stage was put up at a distance from the pyramid and temples to avoid any potential damage.

He said that experts had been called in to review the structure to ensure that it could be safely installed.

The accident cut off tourist access to the archaeological site yesterday.

Some Mexicans have opposed holding concerts at the ruin site, claiming it demeans their cultural significance and endangers the stone structures.

Many concerts have been held at Chichen Itza since Luciano Pavarotti sang there in 1997. In 2008, Placido Domingo drew about 4,000 spectators to a concert without incident.

In a similar accident in southern France last July, a Frenchman and a Briton were killed and eight others injured when part of the stage being built for a Madonna concert at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille collapsed.

That concert was cancelled and Madonna later visited the families of the accident victims in France.

Sir Elton’s concert on Saturday will be the third musical event held at Chichen Itza in the past few years, after performances by Placido Domingo, and the British soprano Sarah Brightman in 2009.

- Times Online

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