US & Canada

Ottawa Bluesfest stage collapse injures five

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Media captionThe stage collapsed during a severe thunderstorm as concert-goers ran for cover

At least five people were injured, one seriously, when a stage collapsed amid high winds at the Ottawa Bluesfest.

Concert officials evacuated the stage on Sunday, moments before it collapsed 20 minutes after the start of a performance by rock band Cheap Trick.

"Everyone is okay and we are so lucky to be alive and hope that all the fans are okay," the group wrote on Facebook.

Canadian authorities had warned of winds of up to 56mph (90 km/h) ahead of the event.

"It was as if some invisible hand had pushed the entire structure over," Ottawa Citizen concert reviewer Chris Cobb was quoted in a news article as saying. "It fell backwards almost intact and very quickly - like a house of cards."

One man was seriously injured when a piece of the stage pierced his abdomen, Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

Following the collapse authorities cleared the festival. The remaining performances were cancelled.

The Ottawa Bluesfest, first held in 1994, is one of Canada's foremost music festivals.