People gathering outside the Flying Scotsman after experiencing what felt like the floor of the upstairs bar, Defectors, was dropping.
The Beaufort Street Festival may lose one of its star attractions after a section of floor at a Beaufort Street pub's second-floor bar gave way at the event's official launch on Wednesday night.
The iconic Flying Scotsman pub and its upstairs Defectors Bar, with a sweeping balcony and city views, are considered a Beaufort Street institution.
Given that they are pretty narrow stairs, everyone did a really good job getting everyone out safely within two minutes.
Gemma Dunthorne was in Defectors Bar when the incident happened and said the collapse, which took place at around 7.45pm, initially felt like an earthquake.
The scene on Beaufort Street shortly after the alarm was raised. Photo: Claire Grantham (@claire_grantham) Channel 10
"It all happened pretty quickly," she said.
"They'd just started the presentations for the launch and there were a couple of speeches happening and then it all happened at once, half the room just dropped.
"The screen was shaking and then the wall behind the bar with all the liquor on it fell down on an angle; all the liquor fell off the wall and all the staff just got rained on."
Ms Dunthorne said that despite the shock of the incident staff acted quickly, pointing out exits to patrons and urging them to evacuate, but said it appeared a harder task downstairs in the main bar.
"We got out fairly quickly... it took them longer to get the people out of the bottom of the building, I don't think they had even noticed."
City of Vincent Mayor and outgoing chairperson of the Beaufort Street Network John Carey said the collapse felt like a truck had hit the pub.
"When we came downstairs we looked through and we could see structural cracks around the column.
"It was a different way to launch the Beaufort Street Festival but the important thing was that everyone got out safe and sound."
Cr Carey confirmed that compliance from the City of Vincent had attended the Flying Scotsman on Thursday morning to make an assessment of the situation.
"We should be getting some sort of basic assessment report this morning," he said.
He said he couldn't predict if the pub would be deemed safe by the time the Beaufort Street Festival starts in 16 days.
"I really can't say [if the pub could possibly be closed at the start of the Festival]. The owners responded quickly last night, they evacuated the whole building so they responded as they should and quickly.
"I'll wait for the initial assessment to come but I'm sure like the owners the key priority is the safety of patrons and that it gets fixed promptly with safety in mind."
Beaufort Street Festival director Aaron Rutter said the Flying Scotsman played a major part in the Festival but said the overall priority was safety.
He added that he could not comment on the possibility of the Flying Scotsman being unavailable for the Festival.
"They obviously play a huge part in the festival but we have contingencies in place," he said.
"We won't be able to make a call on that until they have an assessment and we'd certainly hope they can be involved as they usually are but the number one priority at the end of the day is safety."
He praised the actions of Flying Scotsman staff and their efforts to ensure patrons evacuated the building safely.
"Given that they are pretty narrow stairs, everyone did a really good job getting everyone out safely within two minutes."
Flying Scotsman owner Chris Vivian could not be reached for comment.