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 home made
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 feet 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.,
Indianapolis, 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
buttressed 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
$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
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
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