Dad Died Trying to Save Daughter in Circus Disaster

NH investigation focuses on tent permits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2015 1:19 AM CDT
Dad Died Trying to Save Daughter in Circus Disaster
Circus animals are fed as the investigation continues at the Lancaster Fair grounds in Lancaster, NH yesterday.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

The two people killed in Monday's circus tent collapse in New Hampshire have been identified as a Vermont father and his young daughter—and from what investigators say, it sounds as if their deaths could have been prevented. New Hampshire Fire Marshal William Degnan says Robert Young, 41, and his 8-year-old daughter Annabelle died of blunt-force trauma, the Union Leader reports. Young's son tells WHDH that his father was killed while trying to save his sister. "The beam came down on top of my father, crushed his skull," he says. "He was protecting my little sister Annabelle at the time."

Young's wife and another daughter were also present in the Walker Brothers tent at the Lancaster Fairgrounds but were unharmed, NBC reports. More than 30 other people were injured when the tent collapsed during a thunderstorm 16 minutes into a performance, and officials say the Florida-based circus didn't have the proper permits to put up the tent; it is not clear whether the company was aware of weather warnings. Degnan tells the Union Leader that the circus tent was not inspected by state or local officials and the town was not notified that the tent was going up. "They just went, set up, and did it," he says. (More New Hampshire stories.)

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