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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Pearl Jam: Festival deaths 'avoidable'
Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam believe lives could have been saved
US rockers Pearl Jam have said the deaths of nine people during their set at a Danish music festival last month could have been avoided.

In a statement, the band claimed what happened at the Roskilde Festival could not be "written off as bad luck".

The victims of the tragedy - all men - were crushed at the front of the main stage where Pearl Jam were playing. Thirty-four other people were injured.

An initial report by Danish police said the deaths were an accident and could not be blamed on the size of the crowd, slack security or technical hitches.

Mourners at Roskilde
Mourners lay flowers at Roskilde

As a result, it was decided the festival organisers would not be held accountable.

But the Pearl Jam statement backed a more thorough investigation into the incident.

It read: "It is our feeling that what happened at the Roskilde festival cannot be written off as a 'freak accident' or 'bad luck' as some have called it.

Disastrous

"When something this disastrous occurs, when this many lives are lost, it is essential that every aspect be examined thoroughly and from all angles. To date, we don't feel this has been done."

They welcomed a decision by Roskilde police inspector Uffe Kornerup to order a fresh investigation into the tragedy, which will involve re-interviewing 280 witnesses - including Pearl Jam.

Kornerup said: "There are points raised in the witness statements which remain contradictory and unclear and which we want to clear-up."

He estimated the investigation could take up to two months.

Pearl Jam welcomed the decision, saying: "It is our understanding that at least 15 minutes passed between the time a member of the festival security team identified a potential problem and the time we were informed.

"We stopped the show immediately upon being told that there might be a problem, even though we were asked to wait until the nature of the problem could be determined.

"It is our belief that if we had been informed of a potential problem at the moment that it was first identified by the festival security, we could have stopped the show earlier and lives could have been saved."

See also:

04 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Pet Shop Boy blasts Roskilde
03 Jul 00 | Europe
Festival crush victims remembered
01 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Brit bands pull out of festival
01 Jul 00 | Europe
Fatal crush at rock festival
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