- More than a dozen performers were on the stage when the video screen appeared to break loose from safety wires
- Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee orders investigation into accident, expressing sympathy for those affected
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has ordered authorities to investigate after two dancers performing with Canto-pop boy band Mirror were struck by a giant video screen that crashed down onto the stage in the middle of the show.
Police said the two male dancers were sent from the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday night. According to a Hospital Authority spokesman, one of the performers suffered neck injuries and was in serious condition in intensive care. The other dancer sustained injuries to his head and was listed as stable.
Three female audience members, ages 16, 21 and 40, were treated for shock, with one sent to hospital.
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The concert was the band’s fourth of a planned 12-show series, but the government ordered the remaining concerts to be suspended until stage sets at the venue were checked and proved to be safe.
Lee said in a statement early on Friday he was shocked over the accident and ordered the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and related authorities to thoroughly investigate the accident and review the safety requirements of similar events to ensure the protection of performers, workers and audience members.
“I express sympathy to those who were injured and hope that they will recover soon,” Lee said.
MakerVille, the entertainment business arm of PCCW, and Music Nation – the concert organisers – apologised over the incident and promised to do everything they could to support the injured dancers.
In a statement posted on social media shortly after 2am, MakerVille confirmed all eight remaining live and online Mirror shows would be cancelled, and announcements on refunds would be made as soon as possible.
MakerVille chief executive Lo Ting-fai spoke to the media at around 4am after visiting the two injured dancers. Quoting doctors, Lo said one of the victims, named Fung, only had scratches and sprained muscles, and could be discharged after some observation in hospital.
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The other dancer, called Mo, is still under intensive care, according to Lo, who said doctors needed more check-ups to ascertain his condition.
“First, for what happened just now, we have to once again apologise solemnly,” Lo added, before bowing in front of the cameras.
“We are dealing with this incident very seriously. We promise to thoroughly investigate to find out the cause … What we care about the most now are the two patients and their family. So we will keep communicating with them and provide every support they need. We hope they will recover soon.”
Video clips of the mishap circulating on social media show more than a dozen performers on stage dancing when one of a number of giant monitors comes loose from what appears to be suspension wires and slams onto the stage. At least one dancer was directly under the screen, which then fell backwards, footage showed.
The concert was immediately halted. Ahfa Wong Wai-kwan, Mirror’s manager, apologised and appealed to the audience to leave the Coliseum in a calm fashion, according to a video circulated online.
“Thank you so much for your support for Mirror, but there is something that we need to handle now. I hope you can all leave in an orderly manner,” she said. “I’m sorry. I promise to settle your tickets and promise we will handle the show to ensure [everyone’s] safety.”
Audience members shouted in horror when the video screen plunged onto the stage.
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“I was shocked,” said Aaron Chan Chun-tat, a 33-year-old lawyer who was seated in row 27 close to the stage. “Then everyone was evacuated.”
Another audience member, surnamed Chan, said she was “very traumatised” after seeing the screen fall, as she was sitting in the first few rows watching the stage when it happened.
“It happened too fast and it took everyone a few moments to realise what had happened. Everyone saw the dancers fall onto the floor, and we just hope they are OK,” she said.
Some concertgoers were swearing and cursing the stage design, while others were weeping.
Vince Leung, a former journalist who was attending the concert with a friend, said that in the moments before the incident, audience members were excited as Anson Lo Hon-ting and Edan Lui Cheuk-on were performing the hit song Elevator.
“It took a while for the audience to realise what had happened,” he said. “And then when we saw two dancers lying on the floor motionless with a big TV screen next to them, the Coliseum suddenly went all quiet. Anson Lo and Edan Lui were quickly taken off the stage.
“The light on the stage was temporarily turned off, but then it came on again after the audience shouted together: ‘Turn on the light, Turn on the light’.”
Leung said when she left the venue with her friend, she saw many fans still gathered around outside, wiping away tears.
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“I am too shocked to go home now, so I do not know what to do,” she said. “My heart is still racing. I need some time to calm down and process everything. I hope everyone will be fine, and whoever is behind the safety of the stage will be held responsible.”
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said authorities had contacted organisers on Wednesday after Mirror member Frankie Chan Sui-fai was injured when he accidentally stepped off the edge of an elevated stage. The bureau demanded a review of the conditions at the site and for improvements to be made to stage safety.
Engineering experts said Thursday’s accident was a rare occurrence in the Coliseum’s 39-year history.
Structural engineer Ngai Hok-yan watched video clips of the incident and noted concert stage sets had to be approved by structural engineers. He questioned whether all the stage equipment in this instance had been properly installed.
At least two to four wires must be securely fastened to such large video screens, Ngai said. He suspected one of the locks might have failed, yet stressed more evidence was needed before drawing any conclusions.
“This rarely happens at concerts, as a lot of testing would have been done,” he said. “You can see the screen fall at a relatively slow pace and lean to one side, meaning the wires were pulled by a very strong force.”
Lawmakers Kenneth Fok Kai-kong and Priscilla Leung Mei-fun both called for a thorough investigation of the incident. Fok, whose responsibilities include performing arts and culture, said the concert series should be suspended until “safety is guaranteed”.
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“I felt extremely shocked,” Leung said. “The organiser, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department are all responsible for ensuring the safety of the venue, to ensure all staff can perform under a safe environment.
“The authorities must investigate the cause of the accident, and whether it involves human negligence or poor supervision.”
Tickets for the concerts were priced at HK$480 (US$61), HK$880 and HK$1,280. The 12-member band, who are mostly in their twenties, shot to fame during the Covid-19 pandemic after winning ViuTV’s talent competition Good Night Show – King Maker in 2018.