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Many Casualties Reported In Uzbek Concert Tragedy

A photo of a bridge at the lake in Urgench
A photo of a bridge at the lake in Urgench

Many people are feared dead in the western Uzbek city of Urgench after a fence on a bridge collapsed during a concert.

The incident occurred late on August 8 during a concert by popular local singer Navruz Sobirov at an Urgench city park featuring artificial lakes spanned by bridges, known as Youth Lake.

There is no official statement on the number of casualties, with various estimates ranging from 12 to dozens of people having died and many others being injured and taken to hospital.

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

Several people were also reported missing and a search of the lake by rescue and emergency workers was taking place on August 9.

An official statement from the office of Uzbek President Islam Karimov said a government commission had been established to investigate the incident.

An unnamed source said that several people who were involved in the construction of the bridge that collapsed were questioned and some were detained by police.

The lake and park area, known as Komsomol Lake during the communist era, spans some 15.5 acres and is a known tourist destination with a modern amusement park.

Several parts of Youth Lake were reportedly renovated in 2013.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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