80 Walking Wounded After Apollo Theatre Roof Collapses
85 people are reported to be injured after the roof of The Apollo Theatre collapses. Twitter

An evening at the theatre turned into near tragedy for Christmas revellers and theatre goers after the roof of the Apollo Theatre collapsed.

Eyewitnesses have described scenes of chaos and confusion after what emergency services have described as "a major incident."

At 8.12pm this evening (19 December) the dome roof of the theatre collapsed injuring over 76 people, 7 seriously. 5 children are among the injured.

The number of casualties was originally thought to be higher.

At an earlier press conference a spokesperson for the London emergency services provided an update of the casualties saying: "We had our first responses on scene within three minutes and very shortly after it was declared a major incident."

"There were 85 casualties, 4 of those are in a serious condition 81 are walking wounded. We have identified three hospitals where those patients will be treated. Four patients were seriously injured. None of those are believed to be live threatening, We are dealing with a live incident and that may change. We are in the process of collating the details of the casualties and contacting their next of kin."

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: "The London Fire Brigade were called at 20.14. We had our firefighters in the theatre within minutes. We don't wish to go into details about what has happened suffice to say there has been a collapse of heavy plaster from the roof of the auditorium within the theatre. That's fallen down onto the upper circle, the dress circle and the stalls.

"There was no warning. A sudden collapse from a considerable height. Consequently we have a large number of casualties. London fire Brigade deployed 8 fire engines and specialist urban search and rescues units. We are now in the situation in which we have stabilised the scene."

Amy Lecoz, who was at the theatre with her two children, aged 16 and 19 for the evening performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time, told the BBC: "There was a crackling noise and the theatre suddenly went dark with dust clouds everywhere. We thought it was water... We thought it was a part of the show. I grabbed my kids and ran, she said.

"The entire dome roof fell down on the audience just in front of us. We were protected by the balcony above and we ran. People started screaming. You could see everyone ran off the stage... it went dark".

Lucy Atherton who was in the audience with her daughter and husband described the scene in the theatre saying: "The theatre was full. It was a sell out performance and they were just about approaching the interval when it happened. It was pandemonium. Everything went dark and we heard a crackling sound. Almost immediately you could see the ceiling falling down and the actors ran off the stage. People were crying and shaking."

I've been updated regularly on the Apollo incident. I'm grateful for the fast work of the emergency services in helping the injured.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 19, 2013
David Cameron/ Twitter

One man was treating his 8-year-old daughter to a night at the theatre for Christmas. "Thank God we got out without any major injuries," he said. "We were hit on the head by falling masonry. We've all breathed in a lot of dust which is almost the worst bit."

A man who was at the theatre with his pregnant girlfriend said: "Dust filled the entire theatre and it was a mad rush to get out."

British Primeminister David Cameron made a statement on Twitter thanking the emergency services atteding the scene of the incident.

None of the cast and the crew are thought to have been injured.

A grade 2 listed building, the Apollo Theatre was constructed in 1901.