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Tent blows off mooring during storm and kills 1 near Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) – One person was killed and 20 injured on Sunday when a tent where people had sought shelter during a brief storm blew off its moorings and collapsed on some of the crowd at a festival in a Chicago suburb.

Mike Rivas, deputy police chief in the suburb of Wood Dale, said three people were seriously injured and 17 others had minor injuries and were either treated at the scene or transported to area hospitals.

He declined to give details of the fatality pending notification of family.

The incident happened at about 2:40 p.m. when a sudden storm brought high winds, hail and rain to the annual Prairie Fest, Rivas said.

“People sought shelter under the tent and then it hit,” he said of the storm.

The tent was ripped from its moorings and fell on some people, said Craig Celia, a spokesman for Wood Dale, which is about 25 miles northwest of Chicago. The remainder of the festival’s final day was canceled, he said.

Photos of the scene showed police and fire officials holding up a sheet over a body. Chairs, tables and other debris were strewn on the grass near where the tent collapsed.

Tracy Anderson, whose husband is a member of a band that was scheduled to perform there Sunday, said her husband witnessed the huge tent blow up in the air and land.

“The tarp landed on several people, and rescuers started cutting holes to get them out,” Anderson told the Chicago Tribune.

The annual celebration known as the Prairie Fest is a four-day event with food, live music, a carnival and fireworks. Thousands of people attend and there were around 5,000 there on Saturday night, said a city council member for the area, Art Woods.

Rivas said that luckily the festival was not yet too crowded on Sunday afternoon because the band was doing a sound check and had not started.

Parts of the Chicago area were hit by a brief, intense summer storm that brought high winds and left tree branches strewn on major roads, traffic lights out and snarled traffic.

The storm also prompted organizers to briefly shut down the popular music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park on Sunday afternoon, although the music had resumed by late afternoon.