Tragedy strikes Pukkelpop as tent collapses in storm

19.08.11

Pukkelpop, one of the biggest outdoor festivals in Europe, has been suspended under tragic circumstances. A storm whipped though the Belgian festival site last night, felling trees and collapsing rigging. Worst hit was a tent, which collapsed in on the festival-goers hiding from the rain and watching Smith Westerns, leaving five dead, and over 70 injured.

“The sky suddenly turned pitch black and we took shelter waiting for the rain,” said festival-goer Catherine Blaise told Le Soir newspaper. “Then suddenly, there was a downpour. The wind blew violently. There were hailstones bigger than a centimetre falling… Trees toppled over. It was unbelievable, the end of the world,” she said.

As scores of ambulances raced across the site and an emergency treatment centre was established in a local sports hall, Pukkelpop’s organisers pulled the plug last night, with a statement simply stating “Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims. Words are not enough.” Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.