Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Concert featuring Black Sabbath struck by lightning, 71 injured

Melinda Barton | 05 June, 2016, 07:24

Thirty-three people were injured at the festival previous year by lightning strikes, according to German media.

The "Rock am Ring" festival is among the most popular in Germany, drawing about 90,000 visitors this year.

At least 51 people were injured, eight seriously, when lightning struck at a rock festival in Western Germany, on Saturday.

The approach of thunderstorms after the lightning saw the sell-out event halted for around five hours and some 92,500 festival-goers were urged to seek shelter in cars and tents.

"It's not about causing panic but giving people the feeling that someone is looking after them", said head organizer Marek Lieberberg.

The three-day concert typically brings out a variety of headliners - this year's slate included the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Sabbath.

In 2015, more than 30 Rock am Ring fans were hospitalised after two bolts struck the site. Spokesman Frank Bredel said one person had to be revived by paramedics and remained in critical condition Saturday.

"The festival will continue as planned on Saturday".

Organizers warned fans more severe thunderstorms were expected.

Lieberberg dismissed reports that organizers had failed to act quickly enough to warn music fans about the storm, blaming instead the "catastrophic weather situation in Germany" for the large number of injuries.

This week, up to 16 people have died due to severe weather and flooding in Europe, with 11 of the deaths occurring in Germany.

"The visitors' safety is our top priority", said Schulenberg.

The new strikes come a week after up to 46 people, many of whom children, were injured in lightning strikes at an outdoor birthday party in France and a children's sports event in Germany.