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Stage Collapses At Belgium Music Festival – At Least 5 Killed

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Aug. 19 2011, Updated 2:00 p.m. ET

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By Neil Woulfe - Radar News Director

It’s happened again.

Less than a week after a stage collapsed due to high winds at the Indiana State Fair, a stage has collapsed at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, killing at least five people and injuring 140 others.

Prior to Thursday’s tragedy, Jared Leto --  whose band 30 Seconds to Mars was one of the acts set to play at the festival  --  tweeted warnings to festival goers about the dangerous weather and urged them to put “safety first.”

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After the tragedy, Leto expressed sympathy to the friends and families of the dead on his blog.

He wrote: “Our deepest thoughts and sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives today at the show in Belgium. We are absolutely devastated that this celebration ended in tragedy. To those that were injured we are sending thoughts and prayers.”

Leto continued: “Obviously under these horrible and dangerous circumstances, and out of respect for those who have passed, Thirty Seconds to Mars will not be playing. We love you all and hope tomorrow brings a better day. -Jared Leto”

The sold-out event  -- attended by some 60,000 people -- was hit by the storm just as Chicago's Smith Westerns started their set. The Foo Fighters, the Offspring and Eminem were among the headliners.

The BBC reports that the stage collapse was due to storms so violent, an uprooted tree smashed into the stage and caused it to collapse.

"Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims," the organizers announced on the festival's site. "Words are not enough. We have struggled with the decision to continue the festival. Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011.

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"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. We call on all Pukkelpoppers to return home calmly. Extra buses and trains have been organised to bring everybody home."

Just last Saturday, five people were killed when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair prior to a concert by the country music duo Sugarland.

The group returned to the stage on Thursday night for their first performance since the tragedy and asked the audience in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a moment of silence in honor of those who were wounded "and the beautiful lives that were lost."

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