Friday, August 19, 2011 2:12am ET by  
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Stage collapse at Belgium's Pukkelpop festival kills five

A third stage collapse at a major festival in a month has claimed the lives of at least five music fans, according to officials on Friday (August 19).

Rockers the Smith Westerns were performing at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium on Thursday (August 18) when the stage gave way beneath them.

Reports suggest that severe rain storms and winds had weakened the structure. The stage collapsed so quickly that not all fans were be able to move out of the way.

Frontman Cullen Omori wrote on his Twitter page before he was aware fans had died.

He wrote, "Stage collapsed [guitarist] max almost got crushed... I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc [because] all our s**t is broke... Praying no [on] got hurt."

Jared Leto, frontman of 30 Seconds To Mars, also updated his Twitter account to share his concerns. The band was due to headline the main stage.

He wrote, "Crazy Storm At Pukkelpop In Belgium - Not Sure We Will Be Able To Go On Stage - Stay Tuned. Safety First.

"Four stages down - still raining + thunder if you are here please be safe... Serious injuries at the festival. More bad weather poss [possibly] heading this way. Please take care and caution."

More artists have begun to pay tribute to the fans at Pukkelpop festival.

Benji Madden, who was due to perform with his band Good Charlotte on the Shelter stage at the festival on Thursday night (August 18), has paid tribute to the victims of the latest stage collapse tragedy on Twitter page.

He wrote: "Sad day here at Pukkelpop. One of our favorite festival to play. Sad this happened today. Hearts are with the victims here today."

The Foo Fighters, who were also headling the main stage on the same night have said: "Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragic events at Pukkelpop."

Blink-182's Travis Barker wrote, "Really sad bout Pukkelpop... My heart goes out. Not supposed 2 happen at shows."

The tragedy in Belgium comes just days after five music fans were killed when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair prior to Sugarland's headlining spot last Saturday (August 14), as well as the Ottowa Bluefest in Canada on July 17. Classic rockers Cheap Trick had just made it offstage before sudden storm winds brought the rigging crashing to the ground.

Watch the Associated Press' news coverage of the stage collapse here:


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