Car crashes into Belgian carnival crowd, killing 6, official says

Dozens were injured, including 12 in critical condition, an official said.

March 20, 2022, 10:51 AM

A car slammed into about 100 people, killing six, on Sunday morning during a carnival in Strépy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, officials said.

At least 37 people were wounded, including 10 with life-threatening injuries, according to Belgium’s Interior Ministry.

PHOTO: People walk as police officers keep guard near the site where a vehicle drove into a group at a Belgian carnival in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022
People walk as police officers keep guard near the site where a vehicle drove into a group at a Belgian carnival in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022
Johanna Geron/Reuters

A car driving at a high speed hit a crowd at about 5 a.m. local time, an official said. Two people were found inside the vehicle and arrested for murder; both are from La Louvière, deputy prosecutor Damien Verheyen said at a news conference. No charges have been filed yet.

Between 150 and 200 people were gathered for the annual folklore parade when the vehicle appeared, Jacques Gobert, mayor of the nearby town of La Louviere, told Reuters.

One member of the carnival troupe described the scene as "horrible," telling Reuters that they "saw bodies flying everywhere."

"It was supposed to be a celebration day, but it turned out to be a tragedy," he said.

PHOTO: A police officer looks on at the site where a vehicle drove into a group of Belgian carnival performers who were preparing for a parade in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022.
A police officer looks on at the site where a vehicle drove into a group of Belgian carnival performers who were preparing for a parade in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022.
Johanna Geron/Reuters

One woman who heard the crash from her apartment said her house shook as the car passed by. "A couple of seconds after" the driver struck the troupe, she added.

"Frankly, he wasn't driving slowly," she said, adding that her daughter was at the scene.

PHOTO: Women embrace each other after a vehicle drove into a group at a Belgian carnival in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022.
Women embrace each other after a vehicle drove into a group at a Belgian carnival in the village of Strepy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, March 20, 2022.
Johanna Geron/Reuters

A preliminary investigation indicates the attack was not terror related, Verheyen said, adding that the two people are not known to the police for similar facts.”

The village of Strépy-Bracquegnies is in the municipality of La Louvière and about an hour south of Brussels.

Sunday's event was planned as a launch for a post-COVID carnival, scheduled to run through Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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