Pukkelpop stage collapse
Police officers look at a tent that collapsed following a heavy storm at the Pukkelpop outdoor music festival in Belgium, August 18, 2011. Reuters

Three people were killed after a storm ripped through a pop festival in Belgium on Thursday.

A further 40 festival-goers were injured, seven of them seriously, when a brief burst of high winds and heavy rain flattened tents, uprooted trees, pulled the roof off a stage and brought down giant screens, officials said.

Some 60,000 to 65,000 mainly young people were attending the sold-out festival when the storm struck late in the afternoon.

One was killed on the festival grounds and another on a campsite, Hilde Claes, mayor of the eastern Belgian city of Hasselt told a news conference.

The local fire service later said a third person had died.

The three-day Pukkelpop festival was set to have featured rapper Eminem and bands Foo Fighters and The Offspring.

The festival was suspended and organizers were meeting to decide whether to proceed Friday and Saturday as planned.

The Belgian disaster comes just five days after five people died when an outdoor concert stage collapsed in heavy winds at the Indiana State Fair in the United States.