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article imageFive dead, dozens injured as storm strikes festival in Belgium

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 19, 2011 in Entertainment
A storm which struck Belgium's Pukkelpop music festival caused two stages to collapse, and left five people dead and dozens with injuries.
Five people were killed as a result of the damage caused by a storm which brought high winds, heavy rain and hail. About 10 more people were severely injured, while approximately 60 suffered minor injuries.
Stages collapsed, screens and tents were blown down, and trees were uprooted around the approximately 60,000 people in attendance.
"It looked terrible. All the structures collapsed. There was panic. It was crazy," Brinnie Gardner, a 20-year-old New Zealand resident who had been attending the event, told Sky News.
The storm struck suddenly, and one witness told Le Soir that at first people were laughing and taking pictures, but quickly became frightened and began running for safety. Some became trapped.
'It was utter confusion, mass panic," the Daily Mail quoted 17-year-old Laura Elegeert, of Belgium, as saying. "People were trying to get out of this tent that collapsed by using their pocket knives and cutting holes in the fabric."
The three-day festival began on Thursday with an entertainment line up including 30 Seconds to Mars, Foo Fighters, The Offspring and Eminem.
A message posted on the festival's website following the storm stated: "Pukkelpop The organization has decided to stop all the shows tonight out of respect for the victims. Tonight we'll clean up the site and safely so we can start again tomorrow at 11 pm. A new start for Pukkelpop 2011."
Friday morning a message was posted expressing sympathy for the families and friends of the victims, and announcing that a decision had been made to cancel the rest of the event.
Earlier this month five people were killed and 40 were injured when high winds caused a stage to collapse at a fair in Indiana. In Ottawa earlier this year, a powerful storm knocked down a stage as Cheap Trick began performing at the annual Bluefest.
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