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Death toll at Belgian festival rises to 5

Aug 19, 2011 7:26:00 AM - thestate.com
The death toll from a fierce thunderstorm that mangled tents and downed trees and scaffolding at an open-air music festival in Belgium has risen to five, officials said Friday.

Hasselt Mayor Hilde Claes said that two more people died overnight. About 140 were injured in the storm, 10 of them seriously, she said.

All the dead were Belgians, Claes said.

Organizers canceled the annual Pukkelpop festival near Hasselt, 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Brussels. Buses and trains were pressed into service to transfer the 60,000 festival goers home.

Thousands of mud-splattered young people, many of them shoeless, trekked down the avenue leading from the festival venue to train and bus stations in Hasselt. Many had stayed on in the camping ground in the vain hope that the performances would continue on Friday.

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