One killed, dozens injured as high winds cause stage collapse at Spain festival

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CULLERA, Spain, Aug. 13 (Reuters) – One person was killed and dozens injured when high winds caused part of the main stage to collapse at a dance music festival near the Spanish city of Valencia early on Saturday, emergency services said.

Other infrastructure was also damaged when wind gusts hit the Medusa Festival, a massive six-day electronic music festival held in the east coast town of Cullera.

Thirty-two people were taken to hospital and three remained there Saturday afternoon, regional health authorities said.

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Organizers said they were canceling the rest of the festival for the safety of those in attendance.

“We are completely devastated and saddened by what happened this morning,” organizers said earlier on the festival’s Facebook page, adding that “extreme” weather conditions had damaged several infrastructure on the festival site.

“At approximately 4 am, unexpected and strong high winds destroyed certain parts of the festival, forcing management to make the immediate decision to leave the concert area to ensure the safety of attendees, workers and performers,” the organizers said.

At the festival, where French DJ David Guetta would play on Saturday, DJs were on five stages all night on Friday. DJ Miguel Serna was on the main stage for his set from 3am to 4am when the incident occurred.

“It was a tense few minutes, I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he wrote on Instagram.

“The tragedy happened just at the end of my session on the main stage, just below, which was the most affected (area). It was a few moments of horror, I’m still in shock.”

National weather agency AEMET said there had been “strong gusts of wind and a sudden rise in temperature” overnight, with gusts of 82 km/h at Alicante airport in the Valencia region.

“Suddenly there was a lot of wind, very hot air, all the sand started to move, we saw tents flying,” said one festival-goer, named only Laura.

“People started coming out of the concerts and according to what they told us, parts of the stage, wood, were blown away, it was chaos.”

National broadcaster TVE showed images of strong gusts of wind slamming into people’s tents and festival canopies in the middle of the night, while people shielded their eyes from the sandstorm-like conditions.

“We are in a state of shock because we were 30 meters from the stage. It could have been me, it could have been anyone,” Jesus Carretero, who was at the festival with his brother, told TVE.

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Additional reporting by Jessica Jones and Elena Rodriguez Writing by Jessica Jones Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Ros Russell and Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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