[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]Belgian festival Pukkelpop 2011 deaths toll raised to five after a severe storm struck, knocking down screens and collapsing tents and stages, officials said on Friday.
Another eight festival attendees were seriously injured according to Hilde Claes, mayor of the eastern Belgian city of Hasselt, were festival have been held. The mayor also told Belgian television that some 65 people had more minor injuries.
Belgian Pukkelpop 2011 deaths toll raised to five.
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]About 65,000 mainly young people were attending Pukkelpop 2011 when the storm struck early in the evening. Many were sheltering in large festival tents, which were whipped away by the wind.
“The storm struck in an incredibly sudden way,” said Hilde Claes, who was there.
“It was a real whirlwind. I have never seen anything like it in Hasselt before.”
The three-day Pukkelpop 2011 was set to have featured rapper Eminem, Foo Fighters, 30 seconds to Mars and The Offspring among others.
According to a post on Pukkelpop 2011 official website, the organizers decided early on Friday to cancel the rest of the festival.
“Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims.
Words are not enough. We have struggled with the decision to continue the festival. Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011.
What has happened is very exceptional and could not have been predicted. We are deeply moved by… “
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”] Pukkelpop is an annual music festival which takes place near the city of Hasselt, Belgium in mid-to-late August. It is held within a large enclosure of fields and woodland – between a dual carriageway called Kempische Steenweg – in the village of Kiewit, approximately 7 km north of Hasselt. It is the second largest music festival in the country after Rock Werchter, with an attendance rate of 180,000 over the course of the event in 2009.
The programme is noted for its wide variety of alternative music, spanning styles such as rock, pop, electronic, dance, hip-hop, punk and heavy metal. The event’s organizers aim the festival to be a “progressive and contemporary” musical event. Notable acts that have performed at previous editions include Sonic Youth, The Mission, Ramones, Nirvana, The Sisters of Mercy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Green Day, Guns N’ Roses, Pixies, Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails and Iron Maiden. The term “pukkel” is the Dutch word for “pimple”.
The Belgian tragedy comes just five days after another five people died when an outdoor concert stage collapsed in heavy winds at the Indiana State Fair in the United States.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]Two stages of the Belgian music festival Pukkelpop 2011 have collapsed after a sudden storm and at least 3 people died.
The victims were all attending Pukkelpop 2011 festival near the town Hasselt, east of Brussels, when the storm struck, bringing the stages down.
Hilde Claes, the mayor of the town of Hasselt, where Pukkelpop festival is held each year, confirmed two of the deaths earlier this evening, but reports emerging from Belgium have said that at least 3 festival-goers have been killed. The mayor also said those injured are taken to several nearby hospitals. Some of those lightly injured were being treated at a local sports complex.
Two stages of the Belgian music festival Pukkelpop 2011 have collapsed after a sudden storm and at least 3 people died
More than 70 people have been injured, according to another official.[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Hugo Simons, Hasselt’s head of emergency planning, told VRT radio that 11 people were severely injured while 60 have light injuries as a result of the storm.
More than 20 ambulances were dispatched to the Pukkelpop ground.
“We have for now put the festival on hold until we understand the situation completely.”
Earlier reports of the Belgian media said four people had been killed.
The stages were destroyed by falling trees during severe storms.
3 deaths and 71 people injured after stage collapsed at Pukkelpop festival in Belgium
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]The situation is still unclear at Pukkelpop festival’s location, about 75 km east of Belgium capital, Brussels.
According to NME, the rest of the night’s schedule will more-than-likely be called off. Rap star Eminem is due to headline the concert tomorrow night.
Jared Leto, lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, was due to headline on the collapsed stage later tonight. He has just tweeted:
”Serious injuries at the festival. More bad weather poss heading this way. Please take care and caution!”
Local TV footage from the scene, showed fallen stage rigging and people scrambling for cover and rain-soaked festival attendees bracing against strong winds. Fallen gantries and rigging could be seen on the ground.
Belgian media reported that trees were uprooted by the violent storm and smashed into the stage, bringing it down.
Some festival-goers said on the Twitter website that a tornado had struck.
According to BBC, the storms swept across Belgium in the early evening, turning the sky dark.
About 60,000 people were believed to attend the three-day Pukkelpop music festival, one of Europe’s largest outdoor festivals.
This evening, Pukkelpop organizers posted on the festival website:
“The Pukkelpop organisation has decided to cancel all shows tonight out of respect for the victims. We want to make our hearts and our minds silent for the festival goers that we lost and the ones that were injured.”
Last week, 5 people were killed at Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, US, when a stage collapsed in high winds.