US tornadoes: One dead and dozens injured after roof collapses during concert
At least one person is dead and 28 others are injured after a destructive storm system, spawning tornadoes, caused the roof of a theatre in Illinois to collapse during a packed concert.
Around 260 people were at the Morbid Angel concert inside the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere when the roof caved in while the heavy metal band played on stage.
The Belvidere Police Department said emergency services responded to calls for help at 7.48pm local time, with an initial assessment suggesting a tornado had caused the damage.
TV footage showed emergency personnel carrying out injured concert-goers on stretchers.
"More than 20 ambulances were reportedly called to the scene," Fox 32 reported on its website.
BREAKING: ‘Mass Casualty Incident’ declared following roof collapse at ‘Morbid Angels’ concert in Belvidere, Illinois pic.twitter.com/DQj002lPo5
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Five people were hospitalised with severe injuries.
Belvidere Fire Department Chief Shawn Schadle said first responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to grapple with downed power lines outside the theatre.
Video posted on social media showed rubble, some nearly waist-high, on the floor of the concert venue, and a gaping hole in the roof.
Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene after the collapse as "chaos, absolute chaos".
Gabrielle Lewellyn told WTVO-TV she had just entered the theatre when part of the ceiling collapsed.
“I was there within a minute before it came down,” she said. “The winds, when I was walking up to the building, it went like from zero to a thousand within five seconds.”
Ms Lewellyn said people rushed to rescue those trapped underneath the rubble.
“They dragged someone out from the rubble and I sat with him and I held his hand. I was (telling him) ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I didn’t really know much else what to do.”
Morbid Angel issued a statement after the collapse announcing that the concert had been cancelled.
"Tonight's show is cancelled due to a tornado that hit the venue and caused the roof over the area in front of the stage and marquee to collapse," the statement read.
"We ask anyone who is still travelling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe."
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said on Twitter late on Friday night: "My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere."