TORONTO -- The first-ever Ribfest in Whitby, Ont., came to a jolting end Sunday when 17 people were injured after lighting struck a tent.
Hundreds of people were eating under the dining tent and listening to live music when a storm suddenly developed, event chairman Colin O'Regan said.
"I heard a loud bang," said O'Regan, explaining lighting struck the rod of the tent at the event east of Toronto. "I felt the strength of it in the ground."
O'Regan said at least 17 people were transported to two local hospitals.
"Some people were leaning up against the poles of the tent and might have suffered some burns," said
O'Regan, noting he formally cancelled the remainder of the event.
Thousands of patrons were gathered for the inaugural Ribfest at Whitby Victoria Fields, just south of Iroquois Park Sports Complex.
O'Regan said considering the loud crack of lighting, people remained relatively calm and helped make room for the injured to be treated by responding paramedics and firefighters.
Sgt. Denis Wilson of Durham Region Police said the lighting struck around 1:45 p.m.
"The injured have been taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries," Wilson said.