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Stage collapse that injured 25 students was a shock, witnesses say

Witnesses described the moment Saturday night when a stage collapsed during a performance at an Anaheim high school, injuring about two dozen students.

"All of a sudden the very front row just completely fell under. We were all in shock," student Stephanie Stevenson told KABC-TV.

Another student, Sabrina Lee, added in an interview with the station: "We were all jumping, having fun. We've done it five times before, and then all of a sudden, the girls in front of me just disappeared."

The incident occurred at Servite High School. About 250 girls from Rosary High School, Servite's sister Catholic school, were on the stage when it collapsed, Anaheim Police Department spokesman Lt. Tim Schmidt told The Times.

"Early investigations suggest the front of the stage gave out due to weight," Schmidt said. The Anaheim Fire Department was on the scene soon after the incident, trying to determine the cause of the collapse.

Schmidt told the Orange County Register officials were checking to see if the permit for the stage included a weight limit.

Officials said most of the injuries were "minor to moderate," though some students suffered broken bones.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the students and their families," Servite High School said in a statement Sunday.

A total of 300 to 400 students and parents were in the auditorium at the time of the collapse, officials said.

The students were performing in "Red and Gold," Rosary High's annual musical theater challenge, in which teams prepare for six weeks to put on choral, dance, drama and other performances, according to the school's website.

Servite High School is an all-boys Catholic School in Anaheim. Rosary is an all-girls school in Fullerton.

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richard.duchon@latimes.com

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