Cricket fan tells of stand collapse at international match

Police and stewards moved people out of the stand following the incident at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. Photo by Sharon Fleet.
Police and stewards moved people out of the stand following the incident at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. Photo by Sharon Fleet.

A cricket fan has spoken of how she watched on after part of a cricket stand collapsed, leaving a woman with a broken leg after she fell 20ft through a hole.

The woman was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after a section of the North East stand gave way during England’s Twenty20 against the West Indies at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.

A section of the floor fell away during the match at the England v West Indies game at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. Photo by Sharon Fleet.

A section of the floor fell away during the match at the England v West Indies game at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street. Photo by Sharon Fleet.

Spectators at last night’s event said there was a “chaotic” scene after the collapse, which also left a man with his leg trapped.

Paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service rushed to help the woman while medics on duty on behalf of the match’s organisers helped the man and another person also hurt.

The woman was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she was treated and kept in overnight.

Sharon Fleet, who works as a PA and lives in Hartlepool, was among the crowd after she took her mum Shirley Frankland, 73, to the game as part of a birthday present.

I looked and saw a man whose leg was trapped and the lady had been sat in the front seat and fallen and there were paramedics around her.

Sharon Fleet

The 50-year-old said, who said a section of an aisle had also suffered a defect, said: “We saw a lot of commotion and we thought someone had fallen down drunk but when we looked, the floor had given way just a level along from us.

“I looked and saw a man whose leg was trapped and the lady had been sat in the front seat and fallen and there were paramedics around her.

“People were grabbing on to the man to help him try and free his leg and he was hopping about because he couldn’t stand on it.”

She added praise to the staff who had helped her and her mum find new seats after they were among around 200 fans evacuated by police and stewards and moved elsewhere as the sell-out match continued.

The empty stand following the evacuation. Photo by Sharon Fleet.

The empty stand following the evacuation. Photo by Sharon Fleet.

The ground’s bosses have started to collect witness statements from its stewards and first responders as they work out what went wrong.

Officials have stressed the “small section” affected was not temporary seating and the stand was in compliance with a recent safety check.

A club statement read: “The stand is a permanent fixture at the venue and had passed inspections in the week prior to the match.”