Terrible news from Morbid Angel's 40th anniversary tour. Last night (March 31st), one person died and 28 were injured, five severely, after the roof collapsed on the death-metal pioneers' show at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois, with Revocation, Skeletal Remains, and Crypta, ABC7 Chicago and CBS Chicago report. Around 260 people, including staff and bands, were inside the venue when disaster struck, around 55 minutes into the concert, which started at 7 p.m. Winds in excess of 50 mph hit the area, and video of the scene shows a large portion of the roof and the marquee collapsed, including the ceiling right in front of the stage. ABC7 Meteorologist Cheryl Scott speculated that the severe weather could have been a tornado, which is subject to confirmation by National Weather Service crews.
On Facebook, Morbid Angel wrote, "*ATTENTION* Tonights show is Canceled due to a Tornado that hit the Venue, and caused the roof, over the area in-front of the stage , and marquee to collapse. We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe. We are currently sheltering in place, and want to extend our support and hope that everyone at the show tonight is safe. Right now our focus is on making sure everyone in the venue tonight is ok and gets home."
Revocation wrote, "A tornado hit the venue tonight and the roof collapsed. ER crews are still attending to the injured and assessing the situation. Everyone in the bands and crew are safe. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this disaster. More details as they develop."
Skeletal Remains posted on Instagram: "Thank you all for checking in with us. Everyone on the tour package is alive and injury free. Our hearts go out to anybody in the crowd who were injured."
"We are safe and sound!," Crypta posted. "All bands on the package are safe! Thanks for your concern! Tornado hit the venue. We lost our RV, but we are ok. We'll soon release a full statement about it and keep you posted."
As reported by the Daily Beast, fan Gabrielle Lewellyn said as she was walking up to the theater when the wind "went from zero to a thousand within five seconds." When she rushed inside, theater staff were discussing whether to move people to the basement for safety, but before such action could be taken, the ceiling came crashing down. "I did watch a lot of people get in there and really just tackle getting people out," she told WTVO. "There was a bunch of guys and they lifted the piece of the ceiling off whoever was under there."
Another fan, Theresa Best, told WLS-TV that she was on her way to the show when the roof collapsed, and she was trying to reach friends she had been planning to meet there. "The metal community is so nice, and my heart just aches for anybody who did lose their life," she said. "I just hope all my friends are OK."
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he was "closely monitoring" the situation. "I've been in touch with officials for updates and to direct any available resources we can," he tweeted.
WATCH: Roof collapses during Morbid Angel concert in Belvidere, Illinois. Reports of multiple victims pic.twitter.com/iDGF09NA4A— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) April 1, 2023
#BREAKING - Crews are on scene of a reported Mass Casualty Incident in Belvidere, Illinois after a roof collapsed on a...Posted by WFCN News - Illinois on Friday, March 31, 2023