5 Killed as Storm Slams Belgian Rock Fest

US band Smith Westerns survives stage collapse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2011 1:21 AM CDT
Updated Aug 19, 2011 5:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least five people were killed and about 140 others injured after a heavy storm hit Belgium's Pukkelpop music festival yesterday, the AP reports. One stage was completely destroyed after trees blown over in strong winds crashed into rigging, the Guardian adds. The Chicago-based band Smith Westerns was playing at the time, but managed to escape without injury.

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The storm severely damaged another stage and collapsed huge tents where many of the 60,000 festival-goers had fled to shelter from heavy rain. "It was utter confusion, mass panic," said a witness who saw a tent collapse. "People were trying to get out of a tent by using their pocket knives and cutting holes in the fabric." Five people were killed last weekend when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair. (Read more Pukkelpop stories.)

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