5 hurt as scaffold falls at Oscar prep

Accident still under investigation

Just three days before the spotlight turns on Hollywood for the 73rd annual Academy Awards, scaffolding in front of the Shrine Auditorium collapsed, injuring five people.

People at the scene said a slight breeze caused the accident, though officials are still investigating.

Though some news outlets had reported a man as being in critical condition, the fire department late Thursday described his condition as serious but stable.

Two of the injured, both riggers, were on the structure when it fell; two others were under it. The fifth person was hurt trying to get off the bleachers while the scaffolding fell.

One worker received neck and back injuries. The others had minor cuts and bruises.

The scaffolding — part of temporary structures built outside the auditorium every year to accommodate the arrivals — was behind bleachers, overlooking the red carpet where Hollywood’s glitterati will gather on Sunday.

The structure held a net designed to keep the sun out of the camera lenses of the West-facing press. Onlookers said the net caught a sudden breeze and fell to the back of the bleachers.

The scaffolding also supports TV cameras, lighting and sound systems used to transmit pictures around the globe.

Some of the injured were workers who fell roughly 20 feet to the ground. At least one worker was briefly trapped under the fallen scaffolding, fire department spokesman Bob Collis said.

It is not decided whether the structure will be rebuilt.

“It will not delay the ceremony at all,” said John Pavlik, spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at a press conference late in the afternoon. “We actually were a little bit ahead of schedule today, so we are not terribly concerned about getting back on schedule.”

“I think there was some malfunction, or it may have been human error,” Collis told CNN.

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