Floor collapse at university concert

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 12:35 14/07/2012

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Structural engineers will investigate why the floor of a new $2.5 million events centre collapsed during a Christchurch hip-hop concert.

LATEST: Were you at the concert? Email reporters@press.co.nz

A Canterbury University concert was abandoned last night after part of the floor at its new multimillion-dollar venue collapsed during a performance.

The concert, The Perfect Storm, was held at the university's new $2.5 million temporary events centre.

The centre, designed by Christchurch architecture firm Warren and Mahoney, only opened in April after the university's original student bar was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

University spokesman John MacDonald said the university would consult structural engineers to determine the cause of the collapse.

"We are very thankful that no one was injured. The safety of our students is paramount, and we will need some time to determine what has happened and what we are going to do about it," MacDonald said.

MacDonald said there were about 900 people in the events centre area at the time, well below the building's capacity of 1400.

The events centre would remain closed over the weekend while investigations continued, he said. 

A concertgoer, who did not want to be named, said the floor gave way just after midnight during a performance by hip-hop artist Savage, due to the "sheer weight" of people.

"You know how crowds push to the front: there was just too much weight on the front, then everyone jumped and it just gave out."

While most people were annoyed that the concert had to be called off, the man said it could have been far worse.

"A metre to the left and the stage would have gone through into the ground; thank God nobody was hurt."

The concert was put on by the University of Canterbury Students' Association (UCSA) as part of a re-orientation week.
The association's Facebook page has been filled with comments about the collapse, with some students asking for a refund and questioning the safety of the venue.

"I cannot understand how a floor collapses when you are suppose to be engineering a building for a huge f...ing earthquake, sort your s...," one person said.

UCSA president Erin Jackson said the association was currently examining reports from the night and speaking to university officials to determine what had happened.

Jackson said nobody was injured during the performance and everyone was safely evacuated.

 

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