Prosecutors open probe into festival deaths

AP News
Posted: Aug 20, 2011 5:27 AM
Prosecutors open probe into festival deaths

Officials say prosecutors have launched an investigation into the deaths of five people during a violent thunderstorm at the annual Pukkelpop outdoor rock festival.

Veerle Devos, spokesperson for the magistrates office in Hasselt, said Saturday the preliminary inquiry would focus on how the high winds, hail and rain on Thursday evening caused such damage to the festival site.

The sudden storm blew down huge canvas tents, uprooting trees and flinging scaffolding towers and racks of concert lights across the grounds while 60,000 visitors scrambled for safety.

Five people were killed and 140 injured, 10 of them seriously. Officials said the dead were all Belgians, ranging in age from 15 to 59.