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Exhibition venue evacuated as strong winds 'flex' roof

Visitor attending an exhibition at the FIVE centre in Farnborough were evacuated and the show was closed early after high winds caused the roof to flex and sway

Simon Taylor
Gale-force winds caused the roof to 'flex', according to exhibition visitors

Visitors to a manufacturing and electronics exhibition in Farnborough had to be evacuated on Wednesday because of bad weather.

The Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Exhibition, taking place at the FIVE show centre, was in its first day but was forced to close early because of strong winds.

Farnborough resident Simon Taylor visited the exhibition in the morning and said the conditions were similar to a "disaster movie".

Speaking to Get Hampshire , he said: "The roof was flexing and swaying side to side.

"Everyone was saying they were unsure about it, a lot of people were nervous and were quite tetchy about it."

Mr Taylor captured a video of the wind battering the roof of the centre.

 

A decision was made by Farnborough International to evacuate the site around 1.40pm and it was closed from 2pm onwards.

Another local resident, who did not want to be named, arrived at the exhibition at around 1.45pm, unaware it had been closed, and said he had to queue for more than 45 minutes to try and get back out of the site.

He said: "I pulled into the car park and there were people leaving and getting back into their cars.

"I got all the way to the entrance and a man came and told me the site was being evacuated.

"I went back to the car and was sat there for around 45 minutes trying to get out.

"If there was an issue we should not be sat in cars, there was no exit gate being opened and no one was telling us where to go.

"If there was a bomb scare it could have been a lot worse, they really haven't got their evacuation procedure sorted out."

The show is due to re-open on Thursday (February 13) at 9.30am.

A spokesperson for Farnborough International said: "The decision was made along with the organisers to close the show.

"The temporary structures are meant to sway and it's not something that's not meant to happen.

"We closed the show because of excessive wind speeds, it was not because anyone was at risk.

"The PA systems and emergency exits were in place, there is no way we would be able to operate without them. It is something we are really sharp on.

"We would not be able to hold events like the Farnborough Airshow without abiding to guidelines."

 
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