Fan tells of drama after cricket stand collapse

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 was left with a broken leg after falling 20ft through a hole when part of a stand at an international match collapsed.

The woman was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after a section of the North East stand gave way during England’s Twenty20 game 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 in the moments after the collapse, which also left a man with his leg trapped.

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

The woman was taken by ambulance to hospital, where she was treated for the fracture and kept in overnight.

About 200 fans were evacuated from the stand by police and stewards and given seats elsewhere as the sell-out match continued.

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 ground’s bosses have said they 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.

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.

The 50-year-old: “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.

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

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

“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.”

Shirley praised the staff, who had helped her and her mum find new seats.
A club statement read: “Stewards took precautionary action and evacuated that area of the stand efficiently.

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