AFAS stadium roof collapses in storm after toppled tree kills bicyclist

Fallen tree
Firefighters remove a fallen tree on Richtersweg in Ugchelen (Apeldoorn) Gelderland. Aug. 10, 2019Photo: Ugchelen Brandweer

One person was killed, and separately a portion of the AFAS Stadion roof collapsed as heavy winds gripped the Netherlands on Saturday. Wind gusts in IJmuiden, at the North Sea coast, even topped 104 kilometers per hour.

A bicyclist died at about 2:30 p.m. in Linschoten, Utrecht, when the heavy winds toppled a tree, which sent it crashing down on a bike path along the Haardijk. The tree struck the victim, a 58-year-old man from Lopik, a town 15 kilometers away from the accident.

The stadium collapse took place in Alkmaar, Noord-Holland, where Dutch Eredivisie football club AZ plays their home matches. The stadium was empty when the incident took place, with AZ holding a practice at an indoor facility and the team scheduled to play at RKC Waalwijk on Sunday.

No injuries were immediately reported from the roof collapse. 

Photos from the scene appeared to show damage to the AFAS Stadion's P, Q, R, and S seating sections on the northwestern side of the stadium.

In Amsterdam, dozens of reports of storm damage kept firefighters busy. Emergency services received calls about two different houseboats that were pulled from their docks during the storm. Most of the calls took place between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to broadcaster AT5.

The gusty weather also affected events along the coast and in Friesland. The Rijnsburg Flower Parade was cancelled for the first time since its launch in 1945. A hot air balloon festival in Grave was scrapped, as were several fairs and open water events, reported newspaper Trouw.