A truck rammed into the crowd at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, reportedly killing at least 80 people and injuring hundreds at the famous Promenade des Anglais after a firework display on July 14, 2016.
The vehicle drove through the crowd for around 1.2 miles (two kilometers), before the driver was neutralized by the security forces. Officials are said to be investigating if the driver was working alone or affiliated with a terrorist group
At least 84 people have been killed in the French city of Nice after an armed man drove a truck at full speed for 2km through a crowd who had gathered to watch the Bastille Day fireworks display over the seafront.
The attack on France’s national day came eight months after 130 people were killed in Paris in coordinated attacks on a stadium, bars and a rock concert at the Bataclan venue.
The French president, François Hollande, said the Nice killings on Thursday night appeared to be a terrorist attack.
As the authorities confirmed a rising death toll, with 18 of the hundreds injured said to be in a critical condition, the scene of the attack, the seafront Promenade des Anglais, was closed off by police on Friday morning and people were advised to stay at home.
“There were bodies everywhere. Children, mothers. A guy from the building almost lost his kids. I still don’t understand,” said a janitor of one of the promenade buildings.
Employees of hotels on the promenade were having difficulty getting to work and were being searched. Tourists were leaving for the airport, while those who had witnessed the attack were seen wrapped in blankets, shaking their heads and crying.
The scene of a festive Bastille Day celebration turned to horror and heartbreak as at least 84 people, including children, were killed when a truck plowed through a crowd in Nice, France, on Thursday night. Others were critically injured.
One Nice resident, Wassim Bouhlel, called it “carnage on the road.”
“Bodies everywhere,” he told The Associated Press. Images from the aftermath show bodies covered with blue, white and silver sheets. One photo appears to show a very young victim next to a doll.
The motive of the driver, who was killed by police, is still unknown. But French President Francois Hollande said that “the terrorist nature of this attack can’t be ignored,” noting that it came on a holiday celebrating the country’s independence.
Information about those missing is slowly trickling in as family members and friends scour social media for word on their loved ones.
“Has anyone seen my brother?” one person tweeted in desperation on Twitter, using the hashtags #RechercheNice and #RecherchesNice. Another user asked for updates on an elderly couple.
An Iranian journalist on holiday told the Guardian that a number of the victims were Muslim. “I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic,” Maryam Violet said. “One family lost a mother and in Arabic they were saying she’s a martyr.”
“There were so many Muslim people who were victims because I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic. One family lost a mother and, in Arabic, they were saying she’s a martyr,” she said.
“People were celebrating and it was so peaceful, it was a festive vibe, it was right after the fireworks that the truck came and ran over people.”
A spokesman for the British prime minister, Theresa May, said she was being kept up to date on events, adding: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.”
The White House said Barack Obama was being kept updated. The president condemned “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice” and said he had directed his team to offer any assistance France may need in its investigation.
The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said on Twitter that, after the events in Nice, he was delaying a press conference planned for Friday to announce his running mate.
Hollande, who will hold emergency security talks at the Élysée on Friday morning before flying to Nice, must now address the horror and pain of a nation that has already been rocked by three major attacks in 18 months, and several smaller-scale killings.
A total of 147 people were killed in attacks in 2015 – from January’s gun attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher grocery store to the coordinated gun and bomb attacks on 13 November.
The fact that many children were among the dead and seriously injured in Nice has deepened France’s grief.
:: An emergency contact number has been set up for anyone who may have loved ones caught up in the attack: 00 33 493 722 222