The ceiling of Apollo Theatre, a century-old theatre located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the popular West End area of London, caved in on Thursday night as around 750 people were inside watching a play.

The London Ambulance Service, which led the rescue operation, said that the collapse resulted in injuries to around 88 people. Of them 80 were ‘walking wounded’, many of whom suffered head injuries, while the rest were more seriously hurt.

According to Kingsland Station Manager Nick Harding the ceiling took part of the balconies down with it.

“In my time as a fire officer I’ve never seen an incident like this,” Mr. Harding said. “I imagine lots of people were out enjoying the show in the run-up to Christmas. My thoughts go out to all those affected.”

Many in the audience watching The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, later said that they heard warning creaks in the theatre, which they initially thought were part of the show. Indian journalists, who were attending a reception at the India House, were witness to a media scrum at the Aldwych Theatre situated across the road when Andrew Lloyd Weber arrived for the premier of his new musical, Stephen Ward. Apollo is only a couple of kilometres away. News of the Apollo incident quickly spread, leaving the celebrity packed first night audience at Aldwych shocked and alarmed.

More In: World | International | News