Theatre goers are feared trapped after the roof of the Apollo in the West End collapsed mid-way through a packed evening performance, as police confirmed “multiple casualties”.
A rescue operation was launched at 8.15pm following the collapse, as eyewitnesses reported seeing members of the audience trapped, bleeding and with broken bones.
The Grade II listed building was left covered in a cloud of dust and debris during the performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, with the cast of the show interrupting their act to point at the ceiling.
Eyewitnesses said they initially thought it was part of the show, before “seeing the look on the ushers’ faces” and fleeing the sell-out performance.
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Others claimed they saw people with broken bones, wearing oxygen masks. Stetchers were seen entering the building from ambulances outside.
Khalil Anjarwalla, who was watching the play with his wife and in-laws, said people were screaming and rushing for the exit as the roof collapsed onto the stalls.
He said: “We were watching the play and saw some movement above us but we didn’t know whether it was part of the play.
“And then within an instant the entire roof caved in and you coudln’t see the sky but at least the first layer of the roof was entirely gone and then dust filled the entire theatre.
“Everyone was just screaming and people were rushing for the exit, clambering over chairs. It was completely horrific.”
Police confirmed they were called to the theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue shortly after 8.15pm. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said there were “multiple casualties”.
The scene outside the Apollo (RORY GARRIOCK/TWITTER)
London Fire Brigade confirmed that eight fire engines had been sent to the scene.
The cast of the show were ushered away after the accident which came after a heavy downpour and thunder and lighting struck central London.
One male cast member said: “People are in there, people are hurt. We don’t know what happened to them.”
Another actress added: “Part of the ceiling collapsed. I don’t know what happened to the people underneath, but it will be a small miracle if people aren’t hurt badly.”
Jess Bowie, content editor of The House magazine, tweeted: “Was just seeing ‘The Curious Incident’ in the West End when the roof of the Apollo Theatre caved in. Absolutely petrifying.
“Don’t know if anyone is trapped in there but people outside are covered in dust and some in blood. Utterly horrible.”