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One dead, 100 injured when wind hits beer garden


This news story was published on April 29, 2012.
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By Jennifer Mann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch –

ST. LOUIS — Strong, sudden winds blew over a tent Saturday afternoon outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis, injuring about 100 people, at least four critically. One man who was under the tent suffered a heart attack and has died, officials said.

The tent was set up as a beer garden next to Kilroy’s Sports Bar, at 720 South Seventh Street.

Authorities said 17 people were taken to area hospitals, including the man who died. At least four suffered critical injuries. The rest were treated at the scene.

“I thought a train fell off the track,” said Art Randall, owner of Kilroy’s. “We all ducked for cover. Everything was going sideways. I had metal chairs ripping across the beer garden.”

It is not clear whether the man who died was struck during the incident or went into cardiac arrest because of shock.

The incident happened at about 3:50 p.m. when sudden storms blew through the area, about one hour after the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game ended.

Witnesses said it lasted just several seconds, and estimated the wind to be between 60 and 80 miles per hour. A sudden gust lifted the tent up, sending metal poles flying and the tent to rest against some railroad trestles.

Patrons rushed to help each other, Randall said, including one man who administered CPR to another who had suffered a head wound.

“People were pushing and shoving,” said Christy Eilermann, 42, of St. Louis. “The wind just picked up and they started dragging people inside.”

Several area fire departments responded to the scene, and officials, including the city building inspector, are investigating.

The tent was permitted and inspected, a city official said, but investigators are looking into the make and installation date. Weather officials said wind gusts were measured in the area of about 50 miles per hour.

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