2 killed, dozens hospitalized in New Hampshire circus tent collapse

Posted at 11:54 PM, Aug 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-04 11:17:07-04

(CNN) — The circus had just entered its second act when the downpour started. The performers stopped their show and gave an ominous command: “Run!”

The open flaps on the side of the circus tent, which weren’t tied down, “started going crazy,” spectator Brandon Isham told CNN affiliate WGME.

“Next thing you know, the wind picked up … and took the tent with it.”

The tent collapse in Lancaster, New Hampshire, killed two spectators and injured dozens of other people Monday evening, officials said.

About 100 people were inside the tent when it came down around 5:30 p.m., State Fire Marshal William Degnan said.

Degnan didn’t release the names of the deceased, only describing them as a “young man and a young girl.”

At least 39 people were hospitalized, representatives from four hospitals told CNN. At least 34 of those victims were discharged, the hospital officials said.

Isham said his 4-year-old son suffered a head wound when a pole struck him. But his son is now resting at home.

“Luckily enough, we all got down safe,” he said.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation. But the storm brought 1-inch hail, 60-mph winds and lightning, authorities said.

Degnan said authorities will be looking into the setup of the tent as part of the investigation.

The circus has canceled the two shows scheduled for Tuesday in Bradford, Vermont, according to its website. As of now, the circus planned for Wednesday in Grafton, New Hampshire, is still happening, according to the Walker International Events tour calendar.