Suburban Chicago CEO killed in freak accident before packed audience at company party

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A horrific accident in India killed a Chicago area tech CEO and seriously injured the company's president, and the whole thing was caught on video.

What was designed to be a celebration of success turned tragic when CEO Sanjay Shah, 56, and the company president, Raju Datla, 52, fell 15 feet in front of a packed audience at a party for employees of Vistex, a software company based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

One of the highlights was an aerial show. A specially designed stage made of wood was elevated 20 feet above the concrete stage using a crane. Shah and Datla were in an iron cage.

They were supposed to be lowered, but the iron chain supporting the cage broke on one side, causing them to fall 15 feet onto the main stage. 

A CBS affiliate in India reported that the accident occurred Thursday night with 700 people in attendance to mark Vistex Asia's successful 25 years in business. 

Shah injured his leg and hand. Datla suffered a severe head injury.

Shah died at the hospital, and Datla is in critical condition.

The Vistex flag now sits at half-staff in Hoffman Estates. Vistex is a multinational software company founded by Shah in 1999.

Vistex released this statement Monday:

"The company's heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with Sanjay's family and all those who knew Sanjay in both professional and personal capacities. Sanjay Shah was an extraordinary leader whose presence permeated the working life of every associate and colleague at Vistex. His leadership and presence were truly unique; Sanjay will be sorely missed by all.

"At this time, our focus is on mourning Sanjay. Further communication will be provided after the official mourning period is over."

CBS's India affiliate reported that a case has been registered against the Film City Event Management based on a complaint made by someone from the company.

Vistex has 20 global offices and more than 2,000 employees.

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