Belgium Rock Fest Death Toll Rises to 5

World | August 19, 2011, Friday // 10:46|  views

A violent storm knocked down stage rigging at the Belgium's Pukkelpop rock fest. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The death toll at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium has now risen to five, according to local officials.

The news was reported by BBC Friday.

Initial reports in the Belgian media said four people had been killed while world agencies listed the daeth toll at two.

The festival, one of the largest outdoor rock events in Europe takes place in Pukkelpop, about 65km (40 miles) east of Brussels with over 60 000 attending the 2011 edition.

Cited by BBC, the mayor of the town of Hasselt, where Pukkelpop is held, said 40 people were injured, but other agencies report over 70 injured, several seriously.

A sudden storm caused two stages to collapse and flattened tents and uprooted trees in minutes. Many festival-goers were inside tents when the storm hit.

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme has sent his condolences to the families of the victims while BBC reports that organizers have decided to cancel the rest of the event.

"The sky suddenly turned pitch black and we took shelter waiting for the rain. Then suddenly, there was a downpour. The wind blew violently. There were hailstones bigger than a centimeter falling... Trees toppled over. It was unbelievable, the end of the world," said festival-goer Catherine Blaise, according to Le Soir newspaper.

According to other witness festival-goers a tornado had struck.

More than 20 ambulances raced to and from the site. Two cranes were brought in to try to lift the largest tent late on Thursday,

This is the second consecutive year of tragedy for Pukkelpop. Last year, lead singer of the group Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Charles Haddon, committed suicide at the event.

Five people were killed last week at a festival in the US state of Indiana, when a stage collapsed in high winds.

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Tags: death toll, storm, stage, Belgium, Pukkelpop, rock, fest, festival, fatalities, tornado


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