Indiana stage collapse 7th victim: Surgery set to donate organs
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[Updated 8:37 a.m. Aug. 22: It was reported Monday morning that the Indiana State Fair stage collapse had claimed a seventh victim. That news was premature. The Associated Press has withdrawn an earlier report that 24-year-old Meagan Toothman has died and is now reporting that she remains on life support, pending surgery to harvest her organs for donation.]
The stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair earlier this month has claimed the life of yet another person, bringing the death toll to seven.
The latest victim is a 24-year-old woman who coached high school cheerleading in Cincinnati. Indiana State Police identified her as Meagan Toothman, according to the Associated Press.
The stage collapsed Aug. 13 when high winds -- 70 to 80 miles per hour -- sent the rigging crashing down on the audience.
In the days since the collapse, many people have been asking tough questions about whether the tragedy could have been prevented. Attorney Kenneth J. Allen, who filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of two of the victims, said the stage rigging was not inspected or permitted and that fair officials failed to heed storm warnings issued by the National Weather Service. He said authorities should have evacuated the fairgrounds when they learned that a major storm was headed directly toward the site.
It is believed that three people were killed immediately by the collapse, with others succumbing to their injuries in the hours and days that followed. The death of another victim, Jennifer Haskell, 22, was announced Friday.
-- Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch