One dead, dozens injured as strong winds collapse stage at festival in Spain

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

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

32 people were taken to the hospital and three remained there as of Saturday afternoon, regional health officials said.

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Organizers said they would cancel the rest of the festival for the safety of attendees.

“We are completely devastated and saddened by what happened this morning,” organizers previously said on the festival’s Facebook page, adding that “extreme” weather conditions caused damage to various infrastructures at the festival site.

“Around four in the morning, unexpected and violent high winds destroyed certain areas of the festival, forcing the management to take the immediate decision to evacuate the concert area to ensure the safety of visitors, workers and performers,” the organizers said.

The festival, which was set to see French DJ David Guetta perform on Saturday, had DJs scheduled to play across five stages all night on Friday. DJ Miguel Serna was on the main stage for his set from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. when the incident occurred.

“It was a tense few minutes, never experienced anything like it,” he wrote on Instagram.

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

National weather agency AEMET said there were “strong gusts of wind and a sudden rise in temperature” during the night, with gusts of 82 km/h (51 mph) recorded at Alicante airport in the Valencia region.

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

“People came from the concerts and according to them, parts of the stage, wood, were blown away, it was a mess.”

National broadcaster TVE showed images of strong gusts of wind battering people’s tents and festival awnings in the middle of the night as people shielded their eyes from the sandstorm-like conditions.

“We’re in 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

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