Six people die in a tragic incident in Belgium: a vehicle drove into a crowd at a carnival event.
- At least six people died in an accident at a carnival event in Belgium. 37 people were injured.
- A car suddenly drove into a crowd on Sunday morning (March 20).
- Two people have been arrested.
Update from March 20, 10:22 p.m .: It is initially unclear whether the car intentionally crashed into the group of people. At least six people died in the accident on Sunday morning in the municipality of Strépy-Bracquegnies (Belgium). Another 37 people were injured. Ten of them are in a critical condition and were initially in mortal danger.
A moderator from the Belgian radio station RTL, who took part in the carnival event, reported on dramatic scenes. According to him, the car drove into the middle of the crowd. “There was music and laughter and three seconds later it was screams. It was horrible,” he said of the event.
Belgium: car drives into a group of people – six dead
The two occupants of the car were arrested. They come from the La Louvière area. The two had come out of a nightclub and had just dropped off another person, senior prosecutor Christian Henry told the public broadcaster RTBF. The results of the blood test, which could provide conclusions about possible drug use, are expected on Monday. “Nothing indicates radicalization or extremism,” he added.
The car is said to be a BMW 5 Series, reports RTBF. The car should therefore be equipped with an automatic braking system. Recordings from video surveillance cameras must be evaluated, it is said. A press conference is planned for Monday.
Belgium: Public prosecutor ruled out act of terrorism
Update from March 20, 2:24 p.m .: Six people died in Belgium when a car crashed into a group of people at a carnival event. The background to the act was initially unclear, but the public prosecutor’s office did not assume an act of terrorism.
The fatal incident occurred around 5 a.m. in the village of Strépy-Bracquegnies, which belongs to the southern Belgian municipality of La Louvière. There, two days of carnival celebrations were to begin with the custom of the “Ramassage des Gilles,” where people gather for the carnival.
According to La Louvière’s Mayor Jacques Gobert, between 150 and 200 people had just left the small town’s sports hall and were about to move into the center when a car sped into the crowd at high speed. Six people were killed and 26 others sustained injuries of varying severity. According to the authorities, ten of them were in mortal danger.
According to Mons Deputy Prosecutor Damien Verheyen, the two occupants of the car were arrested. They therefore come from La Louvière and were born in 1988 and 1990. According to initial findings, Verheyen considered a terrorist motive to be unlikely.
Car crashes into crowd – eyewitness reports of drama
“I turned around and saw a car rushing into the group,” a passerby, Théo, told public television station RTBF. “It drove very fast and didn’t brake.” The car sped on and dragged a “Gille” along for about a hundred meters. He saw a lot of people lying on the ground.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced a visit to the scene of the accident with King Philippe. On Twitter, De Croo spoke of “terrible news from Strépy-Bracquegnies”. “A community that gathered to celebrate was hit in the heart.” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden also expressed her deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. “We are closely monitoring the situation,” she said on Twitter.
The event was intended to kick off two days of carnival celebrations in Strépy-Bracquegnies. Mayor Gobert said he had asked organizers to cancel the rest of the events.
The tragic incident in Belgium is reminiscent of the Shrove Monday parade two years ago in Volkmarsen in northern Hesse, when a driver deliberately drove into the crowd and injured more than 100 people. The act caused great horror, among the victims were many children. Last December, the man was sentenced to life imprisonment on 89 counts of attempted murder. His motive is still unclear to this day.
Update from March 20, 12:45 p.m .: Now the public prosecutor’s office commented on the terrible incident in Belgium: A driver drove into a crowd at a carnival event and killed six people, it said on Sunday. First, the southern Belgian municipality of La Louvière said there were four fatalities. The Belga news agency, citing the rescue workers, reported that 37 other people had been injured, ten of them seriously.
According to Mayor Jacques Gobert, the car drove at high speed into the crowd that had gathered early in the morning for a traditional event in the municipality of Strépy-Bracquegnies, as Belga reported.
Update from March 20, 10:45 a.m .: At a carnival event in Belgium, a driver drove into a crowd and killed at least four people. The municipality of La Louvière announced on Sunday (March 20) that a total of around 70 people were affected and more than 20 people were seriously injured.
According to Mayor Jacques Gobert, the car drove at high speed into the crowd that had gathered early in the morning for a traditional event in the municipality of Strépy-Bracquegnies, as reported by the Belga news agency.
According to Gobert, the incident happened at 5 a.m. A group of about a hundred participants had just left the sports hall to head back to the center of the village when the car crashed into the crowd, he said, according to Belga. “The driver continued driving, but we intercepted him.”
The background is still unclear, Gobert said. He announced that the Mons prosecutor’s office would comment later.
Four dead at carnival event in Belgium
Update from March 20, 9:10 a.m .: It is still unclear whether the vehicle was intentionally driven into the group of people at the carnival event in Belgium. As the mayor of the city explained, the driver is said to have continued driving, but was then stopped. The Belgian municipality of Strépy-Bracquegnies is located about 40 kilometers southwest of Brussels and, according to the overriding city of La Louvière, recently had almost 9,000 inhabitants.
A moderator from the Belgian radio station RTL who attended the carnival event reported dramatic scenes. According to him, the car drove into the middle of the crowd. “There was music and laughter and three seconds later it was screams. It was terrible,” the broadcaster quoted him as saying. According to him, about 150 people attended the event.
According to the mayor of La Louvière, the municipal emergency plan was triggered and the victim support service activated. Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden wrote on Twitter that her deepest condolences go to the families and friends of those killed and injured. “What was supposed to be a great party turned into drama.”
Car drives into a group of people at a carnival event in Belgium – four dead, numerous injured
Message of origin : La Louvière – A tragic incident took place during a carnival event in Belgium. A vehicle drove into a group of people. Four people were killed in the accident in the town of Strépy-Bracquegnies on Sunday morning, as reported by the Belgian news agency Belga, citing the mayor. A number of people are believed to have been injured in the incident. 12 people were seriously injured, around 20 others were slightly injured. It was initially unclear whether the vehicle was intentionally driven into the group of people.
Header list image: © dpa / BELGA