Disasters & Accidents

At least 6 dead after car rams into carnival crowd in southern Belgium

(adds southern Belgium in headline)

Brussels, Mar 20 (EFE).- At least six people have been killed after a car rammed into a crowd celebrating carnival Sunday morning in southern Belgium, local authorities have reported.

Police from Strépy-Bracquegnies have launched an investigation and reported six dead, 10 serious injuries and 27 minor injuries.

Two suspects have been arrested and the city mayor Jacques Gobert has activated the town’s emergency plan.

According to witnesses, the vehicle appeared out of nowhere at around 5.00 (4.00 GMT) and was traveling at full speed when it plowed into a crowd of some 200 people that had gathered for carnival celebrations.

Eight ambulances arrived at the scene to help the injured and the city’s sports center has been set up as an emergency center.

The two people who have been arrested, born in 1988 and 1990, are originally from La Louvière, a nearby town.

The prosecutor Damien Verheyen told reporters that the detainees had not given a statement yet and were not known to the authorities.

The investigation will determine the motive since it is unknown whether the vehicle rammed into the crowd intentionally, although witnesses have said that the vehicle accelerated before driving into the revelers.

Verheyen said that so far nothing pointed to it being a terrorist attack.

The mayor has ordered an end to festivities in the region, the first to be held after the pandemic hiatus.

King Philippe, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, and the Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden will be visiting the town Sunday.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. All my support also goes to the emergency services for their help and assistance provided, ” De Croo said on his official Twitter.

Television presenter for RTL Fabrice Collignon, who witnessed the event, said the group was making its way through the city when suddenly “we heard an immense noise coming from the back and a car literally crashed into a group of people.”

“It’s a scene I never thought I’d see in my life. The car accelerated and the time it took us to realize something was going on, everyone was on the ground. People were screaming. There was music and smiles and three seconds later, it was screaming. It was horrible,” he described.EFE


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