Car runs over carnival crowd in Belgium: 6 dead and dozens injured


Belgian police investigate possible terrorist attack in carnival.

Belgian police investigate possible terrorist attack in carnival.

Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

At least Six people died this Sunday after a car rammed a carnival procession in the town of Str茅py-Bracquegnies, in southern Belgium.indicated the local authorities in a press conference, in which they also reported 10 serious injuries and 27 minor ones.

The Police have arrested the two people who were traveling in the vehicle and a murder investigation has been opened, although the Prosecutor鈥檚 Office does not give preference to the terrorist motive.

Between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. local time a vehicle accelerated towards a group of between 150 and 200 people accompanying the Gilles, traditional carnival characters from various locations in southern Belgium.

At first, four deaths were reported, but later the health authorities informed the press that the balance increased to six, while ten people 鈥渇ight for their lives.鈥

The mayor of the city, Jacques Gobert, activated the disaster plan: Up to eight ambulances attended the scene of the event, the most seriously injured were transferred to several hospitals in the region and the city鈥檚 sports center was set up as an emergency room to also attend to the victims鈥 relatives with psychologists.

The two people arrested are originally from La Louvi猫rea town near the place of the accident, and born in 1988 and 1990.

The prosecutor鈥檚 substitute Damien Verheyen explained to the press that they have not yet given a statement and that they were not known to the authorities.

He clarified that it is excluded that they had attacked the procession after a police chase, as some media outlets had initially reported.

The investigation will determine the motive for what happened, since it is unknown if the vehicle was thrown intentionally or not against the crowd, although witnesses assure that the car accelerated before running over.

The authorities must clarify the trajectory and speed of the vehicle, which was found at another point, near where the incident took place.

Verheyen affirmed that, currently, 鈥渢hey do not give preference to the terrorist track鈥 and that 鈥渢here are no elements that allow us to think that it is a terrorist attack.鈥

The mayor ordered an end to the Carnival festivities in the region, the first to be held after cancellations due to the pandemic.

King Philippe of the Belgians, as well as the Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo, and the Minister of the Interior, Annelies Verlinden, will attend the scene to support the victims and their families.

鈥淗orrible news from Str茅py-Bracquegnies. A community gathering to celebrate was struck through the heart. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. My support also to the emergency services, for the help and assistance, 鈥漵aid De Croo through his official Twitter profile.

鈥淭here are no words, it is horror. Arriving at the scene shortly after the catastrophe, seeing those bodies scattered on the road, people suffering鈥 You cannot imagine that this could exist and, unfortunately, that is what is happening. There are no words, it鈥檚 dramatic,鈥 Gobert said.

RTL presenter Fabrice Collignon, who was taking part in the celebrations, reported that the group was making its way through the city when suddenly 鈥渨e heard a huge noise coming from the back and a car literally crashed into the group of people.鈥 .

鈥淚t was a scene I never thought I would see in my life. The car accelerated and when we realized that something was happening, everyone was on the ground. People shouted. There was music and smiles and three seconds later, screams. It was horrible,鈥 she described.

The procession of residents of Str茅py-Bracquegnies accompanied several people disguised as Gillesone of whom is among the deceased.

Gilles is a traditional character of the Binche carnival, whose celebration has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as well as other towns in the country.

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