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Circus Tent Collapse Kills 2 During Storm In New Hampshire

Officials are investigating the cause of a tent collapse that killed two people and injured more than a dozen others.

A man and a girl were killed while watching a traveling circus show Monday evening, after a strong storm dislodged the circus tent's poles and caused a collapse. Officials are now working to find out more about what went wrong at the fairgrounds in Lancaster, N.H.

"We lost two lives — a father and a daughter — at an event that was supposed to be fun," Gov. Maggie Hassan told local TV station WMUR.

New Hampshire Fire Marshal William Degnan said Tuesday that about 32 people were sent to hospitals following the collapse, which occurred during a storm that brought hail and rain to the area. Witnesses said it seemed that parts of the tent were briefly lifted into the air before slamming back down.

From New Hampshire Public Radio, Chris Jensen reports:

"The tent at the fairgrounds collapsed as 100 spectators were watching a traveling circus.

"Julie Fuller of Lunenberg, Vt., was with her 2-year-old daughter when winds estimated at 60 miles per hour struck. She said the tent billowed and then collapsed:

" 'It was like a movie, a scary movie gone bad, bad, very bad.'

"Late Monday night, [Degnan] said the victims were a young man and a girl. He declined to identify them until their next of kin could be notified. He says the investigation is continuing.

" 'We will be looking at the construction of the tent and how it was set up,' Degnan said."

The circus that had come to Lancaster "was operated by Walker Brothers International of Sarasota, Fla.," Jensen says, adding, "Officials there couldn't be reached for comment."

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