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French Court Sentences Four over 2009 Madonna Stage Collapse

French Court Sentences Four over 2009 Madonna Stage Collapse

Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 - 12:15
The accident occurred when one of four cranes putting up metal scaffolding for the stage knocked into the structure's roof in 2009. AFP file photo

A French court on Wednesday handed suspended prison sentences to four people charged over the collapse of a stage as it was being set up for a 2009 concert by pop superstar Madonna, which killed two workers.


A judge in the southern city of Marseille, where the concert was to take place, convicted the four of involuntary manslaughter and injuries, while acquitting three others ordered to stand trial.


Eight other workers sustained injuries in the accident, which occurred when one of four cranes putting up metal scaffolding for the stage knocked into the structure's roof on July 16, 2009 -- three days before the show.


A 10-year investigation determined the cause was the misplacement of a cable sling being used by the crane to hoist up a roof corner -- a last-minute decision after the failure of two winches normally used for such a job.


Just as the piece was inches from being installed, the sling was sheared after getting caught on a scaffolding tube, prompting the entire structure to collapse.


Charles Criscenzo, 52, of France and Charles Prow, a 23-year-old Briton, were killed at Marseille's Velodrome stadium, and one of the injured workers committed suicide two years later.


"The operations of these companies revealed a pursuit of profitability over safety," presiding judge Marie-Pierre Attali told the court.


"If everything had been carried out in accordance with the law, this accident would not have happened, and in any event nobody would have been injured."


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