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Concertgoers rushed to help after Indiana stage collapsed

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Fans leap into action to help the fallen
  • Video of the scene show concertgoers returning to help
  • They fashioned chairs as stretchers and lifted scaffolding
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said people "ran to the trouble, not from the trouble"
  • "It's the character that we associate with our state," he said

Read more about the Indiana stage collapse from CNN affiliate WISH.

(CNN) -- Concertgoers at the Indiana State Fair panicked and fled in the immediate aftermath of the concert stage collapse. But just as quickly, they returned, offering what they could during the moments that mattered.

"I'm a nurse. I'm a doctor. I'm a trained EMS responder," they said, according to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose voice broke with emotion as he recalled the extraordinary efforts of ordinary people.

"The individual Hoosiers ran to the trouble, not from the trouble," he said, using the name for Indiana residents. "It's the character that we associate with our state. People don't have to be paid to do it."

The stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair Saturday night killed five people and injured 40 others.

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Video showed the blue canvas top fraying and flapping just seconds before the steel scaffolding gave way, sending a heavy bank of stage lights and metal onto fans closest to the outdoor stage.

Ivan Gratz, a professional videographer, witnessed the event and filmed what happened after the collapse.

"Everybody ran away from the stage," he said. "And then as soon as the stage, like it was stable on the ground, everyone turned around and they ran back. And that's what was incredible in the pictures where you see the people grab a hold of the stage and they're lifting it up."

"Just amazing," said Gratz.

Allison Hoehn, another concertgoer, said that many attendees rushed to help those trapped after the stage crumbled.

"We tried to get down to help, but no one was moving," Hoehn said. "The storm came on so fast and the stage just snapped like a toothpick."

Spectators grabbed parts of their seats to assemble makeshift stretchers, Hoehn said.

"Everyone rushed to help, and we saw people searching and pulling people out," she said. "(I) saw five people go away on stretchers. It was amazing how many people ran in to try to lift the scaffolding."

Video broadcast by CNN affiliate WISH showed people heaving heavy equipment and working with great care as they moved one of the injured.

Some concertgoers supported the scaffolding as others pointed, appearing to direct the response.

"It was a tough scene. I've been a photographer for 30 years but to see something like this ... it was (a) pretty tough situation for a lot of people," said Gratz.