Pukkelpop storm: Belgian festival deaths reach five

Pukkelpop storm: Belgian festival deaths reach five

Hasselt : Belgium | Aug 20, 2011 at 12:56 AM PDT
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Video of deadly stage collapse as sudden storm sweeps Belgium festival

The death toll at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium, hit by a sudden violent storm, has now risen to five, say local officials.

Staging collapsed, giant screens fell, tents were flattened and trees were uprooted, all in the space of minutes after the storm struck.

Dozens more people were hurt, several seriously.

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme has sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

Reports say organisers have now decided to cancel the rest of the event.

"During the night, the fifth festival-goer died in hospital. I think that the organisation of Pukkelpop rightly took the courageous decision to stop the festival," Hasselt mayor Hilde Claes was quoted as saying on the website of De Standaard newspaper.

She said all the dead were Belgians, adding that 140 people were injured in the storm, 10 of them seriously.

Dr Pascal Vranckx, of the Jessa Hospital in Hasselt, added: "There are still three patients in critical condition fighting for their lives."

Festival organiser Chokri Mahassine said in a statement: "Pukkelpop is in deep mourning."

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At least three people were killed when a violent storm hit an annual outdoor rock music festival
At least three people were killed when a violent storm hit an annual outdoor rock music festival
nizami is based in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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