Stage Collapse Kills 6, Injures 71 In Belgium

Written by Keith Roberts on Aug. 19, 2011

Just days after an Indiana State Fair stage collapsed and killed five people and injured 40 more, a similar incident has occurred in Belgium where at least six were killed and 71 more were injured. The accident occurred on Thursday when a stage fell at an outdoor music festival near Hasselt, Belgium.

Like the Indiana State Fair, the Chateau stage at the Pukkelpop festival came crashing down during a heavy storm. At the time of the stage collapsed, weather reports indicated that a line of strong thunderstorms and high winds were moving across northern Belgium.

Smith Westerns, a Chicago-based independent rock band were playing on the Chateau stage at the time of the collapse. Cullen Omori, the frontman, issued the following statement: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking and simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick and we were about to play the next one when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage.

“Right then, the tress collapsed 1 foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear that there were severe injuries and we are now being told there are reports of multiple deaths. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in today’s tragedy.”

In addition to the Cheateau, a second stage and jumbotron screens also fell down. The 2011 edition of the Pukkelpop is a three-day event that is estimated to draw at least 60,000 people and have names such as rapper Eminem and the Foo Fighters perform.