Rock Festival Suspended After 72 Injured in Lightning Storm

Some were hit by lightning, others by flying debris at Germany's Rock am Ring
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2016 1:45 PM CDT
Rock Festival Suspended After 72 Injured in Lightning Storm
People have fun at Rock am Ring in Germany on Friday. Dozens were injured when lightning struck the music festival, causing it to be temporarily shut down.   (Thomas Frey)

A rock festival in western Germany was suspended Saturday after scores of people were injured in a lightning storm, the AP reports. Paramedics said more than 70 people were hospitalized after a storm struck the Rock am Ring festival late Friday at a former airfield 62 miles west of Frankfurt. Organizers on Saturday urged tens of thousands at the festival to seek shelter in their tents or cars, saying local authorities had ordered them to put the festival on hold. The German Red Cross said 72 people were taken to the hospital due to the storm—including those who got electric shocks from nearby lighting strikes, were hit by flying debris, or had serious asthma attacks. A spokesperson said one person had to be revived by paramedics.

Rock am Ring organizer Marek Lieberberg dismissed reports that organizers had failed to act quickly enough to warn music fans about the storm, blaming instead the "catastrophic weather situation in Germany" for the large number of injuries. Germany, along with neighboring France and Belgium, has been hit by severe storms that have caused heavy flooding and at least 16 deaths in the last few weeks. The chairman of ticketing company Eventim said organizers hoped to be able to resume the show later Saturday if the weather improved, but warned that more storms have been forecast for Sunday. Rock am Ring is one of the most popular festivals in Germany and has been staged since 1985. Performers this year include Tenacious D, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Black Sabbath. (Read more lightning stories.)

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