The crowd at a drone show outside Linnahall in Tallinn was dispersed over fears about the safety of the structure of the roof on Friday night. People were also able to get in without security checks.
Samsung Electronics Baltics, organizer of a large drone show in the Estonian capital on Friday night, said that the event was only briefly interrupted and no serious incidents took place.
Liga Bite, communication manager for Samsung Electronics Baltics, said on Saturday that the Samsung drone show at Linnahall turned out to be unexpectedly popular, which is why the entrance was closed during the NÖEP concert to prevent more people from entering the rooftop than was foreseen in the event's organization and security plan.
"Although there were no more people in the area of the event than envisaged in the security plan, we decided to disperse the crowd for the safety of all when slight oscillations were felt on the roof. After the dispersion, the artist continued to play and the planned drone show took place in full," Bite said.
The spokesperson said no serious incidents were registered at the event and it was possible to enjoy the drone show also from the area around Linnahalli.
A spokesperson for private security company G4S said on Friday night that the situation at the venue briefly went out of control when portable metal gates installed at the entrance came loose from their concrete anchors under the weight of the crowd and an unknown number of people got in without passing the virus check.
Spokesperson Ann Marii Narska said it was not possible to say how many people were able to enter the venue without passing a virus check, but G4S quickly got the situation under control and the gates were closed.
However, during the NÖEP concert, security personnel started to receive information that according to some people roof structures of the Linnahall arena were shaking. The security manager then suggested to the organizer to stop the event.
"G4S does not have any information on whether there was a real risk of an accident at the venue, but we can confirm that no one was injured," Narska said.
Linnahall is a large structure on the Tallinn seafront built between 1975-1980 for the sailing events of the 1980 Moscow Olympics in Tallinn, which was last open to the public in 2009.
An expert evaluation of the building carried out in 2016 found that the structure of the building is in relatively good shape, save for the dolomite exterior wall cladding.
Expert to assess strength of Linnahall structures
The company managing the currently disused structure will invite an expert to assess the strength of the building's structures.
Anu Liinsoo, member of the board of AS Tallinn Linnahall, said that the condition of the Linnahall's structure was thoroughly assessed by expert Aldur Parts in 2016 and 2019.
"In 2019, specifically the durability of the roof of the ice arena was assessed in connection with the shootings for the film Tenet, when heavy items were to be brought onto the roof of the ice arena for the shootings. In both cases, the experts concluded that no additional reinforcements were needed and that the normative load for the crossing should not exceed 400 kilograms per square meter, which was also the load foreseen in the design," Liinsoo told BNS.
"Today, we assessed the condition of the Linnahall visually and consulted an expert who previously assessed the structures of the Linnahall. The expert will come here as soon as possible in order to assess the situation more accurately. Then, if necessary, further work and other activities will be decided about," Liinsoo said.
According to her, there are no plans to restrict access to the roof for the public.
"Probably the large crowds on the roof created a so-called bridge wobble effect," Liinsoo added.
Deputy mayor: Organizers of Linnahall rooftop event breached agreement
Andrei Novikov, deputy mayor of Tallinn and chairman of the supervisory board of the company that manages the currently disused Linnahall arena, said that the organizers of the event at the roof of the building on Friday night did not adhere to their agreement.
"The event at Linnahall last night was not consistent with what the organizer of the event agreed with Linnahall and did not comply with the rules set by the government, which the event organizer committed to observe," Novikov said on Saturday.
He said, according to the organizer of the drone fireworks show, up to 1,000 people were supposed to come to the roof of the Linnahall to watch the drone show in the sky. They promised to cordon off the area and check vaccination passports. He said they were not informed about the NÖEP concert.
"It is a great pity that the people who came to the event found themselves in a frightening situation. We must definitely find out under what circumstances such a large crowd was convened and how it could happen that the organizer allowed the event to continue also after an unknown number of people had entered the cordoned-off area without being checked," Novikov noted.
Editor's note: This article was updated to add comments from Andrei Novikov, deputy mayor of Tallinn.
Editor: Helen Wright