London authorities say five people were seriously hurt and about 40 are ``walking wounded'' after a theater partially collapsed during a packed performance of a show during the height of the Christmas season.

            The London fire department says all casualties who were trapped in the Apollo Theatre have been freed.

               A fire official says the ceiling took parts of the balconies down with it. The audience, which included many families, was showered with masonry and debris.

     The fire department believes around 700 people were in the theater at the time.

    It added that special search and rescue teams remain on the scene, along with ambulances and police. 

(Associated Press)