Backstreet Boys Concert Ends with Injuries as Scaffolding Collapses at WinStar World Casino Concert Venue

Posted on: August 20, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: August 20, 2018, 10:52h.

At least fourteen people were injured during a Backstreet Boys concert at the WinStar World Casino Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma when a heavy storm caused overhead scaffolding to collapse on a line of people waiting to get in.

Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys concert at the WinStar World Casino was canceled within hours of the accident. Some of those injured suggested to local media that casino officials could have been more emphatic their evacuation of the area. (Image: Getty)

According to officials at the Chickasaw Nation-operated casino, around 150 fans were queuing at the outdoor concert venue when winds of 80 miles per hour knocked down the metal structure which formed part of the entrance to outdoor concert venue.

In an official statement, WinStar World said its staff began evacuating the area at around 5pm on Saturday after seeing lightening within four miles of the casino, half an hour before the accident.

“All patrons in the area were asked to move and to seek shelter from the storm. However, about 150 patrons who were standing in line for the Backstreet Boys concert did not heed staff’s warnings,” said Kym Koch Thompson a spokesman for WinStar.

Evacuation ‘Wasn’t Mandatory’

But local TV news affiliate Fox 12 spoke to three injured people who claimed casino officials had not been insistent enough in clearing the area.

They said there’s lightning. They advised us to seek shelter from the casino,” said victim Brittany Leach. “People were asking, ‘Is it mandatory?’ They said no.”

“We didn’t know it was falling until it was already falling.”

“The only thing I knew was something happened and blood is literally pouring out of my head,” her husband Thomas Leach added. “I had no idea what happened.”

A large forklift had to be brought in to lift the structure off some of the victims, while the injured were treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to two local hospitals. At least two of the victims have now been released, according to Koch Thompson.

Concert Canceled

The concert, which as well as the Backstreet Boys was to feature fellow 1990s boy band 98 Degrees, was canceled within a few hours of the accident.

“We never want to put our fans in harm’s way and with tonight’s weather and the injuries from earlier, we have decided to cancel the show and will attempt to reschedule,” read a tweet from the Backstreet Boys. “The most important thing is for everyone to get home safely and we will see you all very soon.”

“We know that fans often suffer through inclement weather for their favorite acts, but this was an unusual event and our thoughts are with those who were injured during this storm,” said Koch Thompson.

Last year, another Chickasaw property in Oklahoma, the Riverwind Casino, was forced to cancel a concert by the Beach Boys after a tornado ripped off its roof. No injuries were reported.