Artist fined over inflatable artwork that killed 2
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A British artist whose inflatable artwork blew away killing two women who were inside has been fined the equivalent of $17,800 after being convicted of offences under the Health and Safety Act.
Maurice Agis, 77, was sentenced Thursday, along with the district council and company who put up his Dreamspace sculpture.
Brouhaha International, which organized the tour of Dreamspace, was fined £4,000 and Chester-Le-Street District council, which held the event, was fined £20,000.
Agis originally had been tried on charges of manslaughter in a court in Newcastle, U.K., but the jury failed to reach a verdict.
The court opted not to retry him for manslaughter, but convicted him of violating health and safety procedures.
Agis is famous for his sculptures, huge inflatable works that viewers can walk through.
In July 2006, a sculpture the size of a football field that was anchored in a County Durham park broke free from its moorings, carrying several people with it.
Two women died and 13 people were injured, including a three-year-old who fell from the sculpture and was saved by a passing doctor.
Agis has pledged never to put up the artwork again and wrote to the families of the two women killed apologizing for the incident.
"I am consumed by the tragedy of this event and by your suffering," he wrote in a letter released in the court.
(Elizabeth Collings, 68, and Claire Furmedge, 38, died when the creation was blown 100ft into the air after breaking free from its moorings.)