Ravaging storms struck the Pukkelpop Belgian music festival, killing five and injuring dozens after a stage collapsed on Thursday.
Torrential rain and strong winds swept through the Pukkelpop festival, uprooting trees, taking down festival light towers and TV screens.
Debris flew through the air, as thousands of festival attendees fled for sparse cover from the storms carnage (see the video below).
Festival organizers have canceled the music event, explaining grief over the damage, death, and injuries.
Pukkelpop was scheduled to run Aug. 18-20. It is Belgium's largest alternative music festival, with more than 220 acts playing on eight stages. Attendance was roughly 60,000, and top musical acts included Eminem, the Offspring and James Blake were scheduled to perform.
On Thursday, the festival and campground in Kiewet, Belgium, 50 miles east of Brussels, was struck with a massive rain and hailstorm. Three stages were damaged and ambulances and cranes were called to the scene amid the chaos. Festival organizer Chokri Mahassin told The Associated Press meteorologists didn't predict a storm of that intensity.
I have seen many tropical storms, he said, but this was unprecedented.
The statement read:
Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathize with the families and friends of the victims.
Words are not enough. We have struggled with the decision to continue the festival.
Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011.
What has happened is very exceptional and could not have been predicted.
We are deeply moved by all the spontaneous support the festival goers and the organisation have received.
See video footage of the storm here: