Indianapolis News photographer, J. Parke Randall, captured the scene when
tragedy struck during the pace lap of the 1960 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.
A privately owned makeshift scaffold collapsed, killing two people and injuring 82.
About 125 people, who had paid $5 to $10 for vantage spots on the scaffold,
tumbled to the ground. Upon hearing screams behind him, Randall turned away
from the track to see -- and shoot -- the wood-and-metal tower tumbling to the
ground under the weight of jostling spectators, spewing them out onto the infield
Henceforth, all scaffolding at the Speedway was banned.
50 Hurt at Start of Race
Disaster Plan Put into Effect
Indianapolis, Ind --- UPI -- A homade
grandstand, jerrybuilt against a truck, tipped
over under the weight of more than 100
screaming fans at the Indianapolis Speedway
auto race yesterday. Two persons were killed
and more than 50 were hurt.
The 30-foot high stands, built of light metal pipe
and boards, began to tilt slowly forward when
fans leaped to their fee as the 33 cars in the
500-mile race were poised at the starting lines.
Spectators jumped and fell from the stands but
scores were trapped under a mass of timbers,
pipes and bodies when the structure crashed
down in one piece.
Among the injured was Wilbur Shortridge Jr.,
Indianpolis, an enterprising fan who had built
the stands and charged $5 a seat on the lower
decks and $10 in the upper section. He had
been sitting in the stands.
Witnesses said spectators in other stands
ignored the screaming, pleading victims under
the fallen structure while the race got under
way, but some finally helped carry the injured
to the track's field hospital, set up to care for
drivers injured in the crash.
The dead were Fred H. Linder, 23, Indianapolis,
and William C. Craig, Zionsville, Ind., both died
of broken necks.
The stands, the type that normally are butred
against the side of a building, were partially
mounted in the bed of the truck, which served
as the only support.
By late night, 22 persons still remained in
hospitals where they were transferred from the
track. Two persons were in serious condition
with bone fractures and head injuries.
The stands were set up in the infield of the
Speedway's northeast turn, long noted for
freak accidents during the annual Memorial
Speedway officials said there was no rule
against building such bleachers and stands and
their only safety rule was that they "looked safe."
$100,000 Suit Against '500'
Indianapolis, Ind. (UPI) --- An Indianapolis woman has
filed a $100,000 damage suit stemming from the
collapse of a home-made grandstand at the Memorial
day 500-mile auto race. The accident killed 2 persons
and injured 83, including 5 Iowans.
Mrs. Mayme Folks filed suit in Marion county
(Indianapolis) superior court against Indianapolis Motor
Speedway Corp. and Wilbur Shortridge of Indianapolis.
Mrs. Folks charged in her suit that she was standing on
the ground near the infield fence about 20 feet in front
of the scaffold and was injured when it fell.
Mrs. Folks' attorneys identified Shortridge as one of the
builders of the pipe and plank scaffold. He was injured
and is still in critical condition.
|Misc Photos of Scaffolds at the Speedway
|Scaffolding is still used today by Home Advisor remodeling and
painting companies to reach high ceiling areas. This type of
scaffolding is much safer for Home Advisor professionals to use than
the type in the 1960 Scaffold Disaster. DIY enthusiasts who choose
not to use an experienced Home Advisor company can build their
own scaffolding for a home project, but should refer to safety
regulations at all times.