Venice whirlwind injures 25, blows out Pearl Jam gig

VENICE Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:32pm EDT

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VENICE (Reuters) - A whirlwind hit Venice on Friday, injuring about 25 people and forcing the cancellation of a festival headlined by rock band Pearl Jam was to have played, police and fire services said.

The whirlwind hit late in the afternoon, bringing down sound towers and girders on the stage for the Heineken Jammin' Festival as well as trees in the surrounding park. Several vehicles were overturned by the strong winds.

The damage forced the cancellation of the festival, organizer Roberto De Luca told local media.

The park where the concert was to have been held was on the mainland part of the city and there were no reports of damage in the city's historic centre in the lagoon.

Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari said 19 people had been taken to hospitals but only one suffered serious fractures, news agency ANSA reported.

Traffic on the bridge that connects the lagoon city to the mainland was temporarily disrupted by debris.

The Friday night concert was Pearl Jam's only Italian appearance on their current tour.

The band sold over 9 million copies of their debut album "Ten" and their track "Man of the Hour" was on the soundtrack for Tim Burton's film "Big Fish."

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