London Theater Ceiling Collapse Injures Scores

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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: General view of the the Apollo Theatre after the roof fell in during a show on December 19, 2013 in London, England. A number of people have been seriously injured after part of the roof of the famous West End theatre collapsed during a packed performance of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'.
Photo: Danny Martindale/Getty

A packed performance of the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at London's Apollo Theater turned into a harrowing disaster on Thursday when a section of the theater's ceiling collapsed, injuring 76 people — seven of them seriously. In the reports from those fateful first moments as the plaster started to crumble, making a sound like raindrops, more than one theatergoer said they at first thought what was happening was part of the performance. "We thought it was water ... We thought it was a part of the show. I grabbed my kids and ran," one woman told the BBC. "One of the actors said, 'Watch out!'" a woman told CNN. "We thought it was part of the play."

But the collapse into the 775-seat theater was all too real, and while many of those injured were treated and released at the scene, a total of 51 were taken to the hospital, the BBC reports. Fortunately, none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening. Within an hour of the 8:15 p.m. collapse, emergency officials confirmed all 720 people inside had been evacuated from the theater. The job of rebuilding and determining what caused the collapse, however, will take considerably longer.