Scene of chaos at Bastille Day celebration
NICE, France — A truck driver barreled for more than a mile through Bastille Day revelers thronging the famed seaside promenade here Thursday, killing scores of people and sending a terror-scarred nation reeling again.
The driver slammed the massive vehicle, which an official said was loaded with explosives and weapons, into a crowd packed with families that had come to see the celebratory fireworks, leaving bodies in his wake.
At least 84 people were killed and 18 critically wounded, a French official said.
Truck driver kills dozens in Nice, FranceA truck driver plowed through a crowd gathered on a coastal promenade at a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, killing several dozens of people and sending hundreds fleeing from the scene. Photo: Getty Images
“France has been struck on its national day — July 14, a symbol of freedom — because human rights are denied by fanatics and France is of course their target,” Hollande said.
Witnesses said the driver steered the truck into the crowd deliberately, maintaining speed as he ripped through the revelers. The rampage ended in a hail of police bullets that killed the driver, bringing the truck to a halt, officials said.
“We thought he lost control. We all shouted: ‘Stop! Stop!’” said Nader Shafa’ai, an Egyptian tourist, who captured the mayhem on his video camera as the truck came careering through the crowd. “Then it was clear it wasn’t an accident.”
The footage Mr. Shafa’ai shot shows French police as they surrounded the white truck and fired rounds at the driver. The footage also shows scores of bodies under and behind the truck.
“I filmed it because I was in shock,” Shafa’ai said.
Christian Estrosi, the president of the region, said the truck driver fired shots in the crowd as he drove. Police searching the truck found it was loaded with arms and grenades, he said.
Images on French TV showed a cargo truck windshield pocked with bullet holes.