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Uzbek Concert Organizer Investigated After Deadly Bridge Tragedy

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Witnesses told RFE/RL that many of the victims were children who were standing on the bridge to listen to the concert.

Witnesses told RFE/RL that many of the victims were children who were standing on the bridge to listen to the concert.

The organizer of an outdoor concert marred by the fatal collapse of a bridge railing is under investigation, sources in Uzbekistan say.

At least 15 people were killed and 17 hospitalized after a railing on a narrow bridge in a park in the city of Urgench collapsed during a concert by popular singer Navruz Sobirov on August 8, staff members at Uzbekistan's Emergency Situations Ministry told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity.

The sources said the concert was organized by the director of the Eighth television channel in Urgench, Ulugbek Sobirov, and that he is under investigation.

Ulugbek Sobirov is not related to Navruz Sobirov.

Authorities in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation have made no official statement on the number of casualties in the accident, which occurred in a city lake and park complex called Youth Lake that was reportedly renovated in 2013.

Witnesses told RFE/RL that many of the victims were children who were standing on the bridge to listen to the concert. They said the bridge was overcrowded and a railing collapsed after police started pushing the people on the bridge, demanding they open a corridor for "the singer to pass."

Sources at the Culture and Sports Ministry told RFE/RL on August 11 that the singer, Navruz Sobirov, has also been summoned for questioning by prosecutors.

Local residents said on August 9 that bodies were still being found in the lake as funerals for some of the victims were already under way.

Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev, who is heading a state commission formed to investigate the tragedy, has been in Urgench since August 9.

Known as Komsomol Lake during the Soviet area, the recreation area spans some 6 hectares in Urgench, a provincial capital in eastern Uzbekistan near the border with Turkmenistan.

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