Investigation Continues Into Deadly Circus Tent Collapse

The circus operator said the entire cast and crew is "reeling" from shock.

Officials were still on the scene of the deadly circus tent collapse in New Hampshire Wednesday night, working with structural engineers and soil experts to determine whether anyone else is to blame other than Mother Nature.

The state fire marshal says it's unclear why the circus put on its planned show in a tent in Lancaster after a widespread warning of impending severe weather. The tent ended up collapsing in a storm, killing a father and a daughter.

The victims have been identified as 41-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, of Concord, Vermont.

More than 50 people were injured during the circus tent collapse Monday night at the Lancaster Fairgrounds. All of those victims have been released, except for one, says New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan.

Degnan said that most of the injuries were from fallen tent poles. 

Degnan said that circus workers saw movement near the tent's main entrance and told people to stay in their seats while they secured a piece of the canopy. As the winds rose, they told spectators to leave and find shelter.

Degnan says the operator, Sarasota, Florida-based Walker International Events, has been cooperating in the investigation into what happened. 

The circus operator said the entire cast and crew is "reeling" from shock.

The statement, posted Wednesday morning on the Walker International Events Facebook page, says the company "cannot begin to express the pain and sadness we feel."

It appears the tent did not have proper permits. McGrath Law Firm announced Wednesday that it is launching its own investigation into the matter after receiving calls from families of victims. 

New Hampshire State Fire Marshal William Degnan says the town of Lancaster is working on making counselors available for the community. A hotline will be set up, possibly by the end of the day on Wednesday. 

Degnan says it will take a while to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and that the analysis of the collapse won't happen overnight. 

The rest of the circus shows scheduled to take place in New Hampshire have been cancelled. 

When asked Wednesday why the show still went on after storm warnings were issued, Degnan said it was the responsibility of the event promoter whether or not to hold the event.

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