The Latest: Governors express condolences in tent collapse

AP News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 5:57 PM

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — The latest on the New Hampshire circus tent collapse (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The governors of two states are expressing their condolences to the family of a Vermont father and daughter who died when a circus tent collapsed in a strong storm in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan says "it is deeply saddening that a father and daughter lost their lives at what was meant to be a fun, family event."

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, the father of two daughters, said he can't imagine the pain and grief that "this tragedy has caused the family, friends, and loved ones of these two Vermonters."

The victims of Monday night's collapse were identified as 41-year-old Robert Young and his 8-year-old daughter Annabelle, of Concord, Vermont.

Shumlin says crisis counseling will be provided in Concord, a town 15 miles west of Lancaster, New Hampshire, where the tent collapsed.

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4:10 p.m.

The president of the Florida-based circus that was putting on a show in New Hampshire when a severe storm collapsed a tent and killed two spectators has a history of violations with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A decade ago, John Caudill Jr., president of Walker International Events Inc., and his associates agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for violations in 2001 while operating without an Animal Welfare Act license. The license, which allows businesses to display animals publicly, had been suspended in 1997.

The 2001 violations included failing to get adequate veterinary care for elephants and failing to have a proper distance or barrier between elephants and the public.

Caudill was cited in 1997 for not providing adequate veterinary care, failing to maintain complete records and not providing proper animal enclosures.

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3 p.m.

Authorities say the father and daughter who were killed when the circus tent collapsed during the storm were from the town of Concord, Vermont.

They were identified Tuesday as 41-year-old Robert Young and 8-year-old Annabelle Young. Fire Marshal William Degnan says an autopsy showed they died of blunt force trauma.

Degnan said members of the Walker Brothers International Circus have been cooperating with investigators. He said the circus operator did not file a "place of assembly permit" with the town. He said state law would need to be examined further to decide whether a criminal violation would apply.

The circus show had started 15 minutes before 60 mph winds blew through Lancaster Fairgrounds in New Hampshire. There had been a severe thunderstorm warning in place. Thirty-two people have been taken to hospitals.

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10 a.m.

New Hampshire's fire marshal says 32 people have been taken to hospitals following a circus tent collapse in a storm that killed a father and daughter.

Fire Marshal William Degnan says the storm with 60 mph winds hit early Monday night during the show by the Walker Brothers International Circus. The show had started about 15 minutes earlier. The National Weather Service had put out a severe thunderstorm warning for the area seven minutes before that.

Degnan said Tuesday it is the responsibility of the show to monitor weather conditions.

He says no state or local officials were involved with the setup and no request was made for an inspection. He says the show would have required a "place of assembly permit," but to the best of his knowledge, one was not sought.

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6:30 a.m.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan says the two people who were killed when a circus tent collapsed during a storm were a father and daughter.

Their names have not been released. Hassan says authorities are still getting information on how many people were hurt in the collapse Monday. Authorities said Monday night that at least 22 people were injured.

Authorities also are looking at how the tent was erected at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, about 90 miles north of the capital of Concord. They also were talking to survivors and witnesses.

Fire Marshal William Degnan says it's the first time his agency had investigated a tent collapse.

The storm, packing 60 mph wind gusts and hail, blew through just as the first of two scheduled shows was beginning.