Tragedy struck Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France, today when a white truck drove straight through a crowd, leaving at least 60 dead and 100 injured, including the driver, according to early reports. Following the event, Christian Estrosi, the head of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, advised residents and visitors via Twitter to stay in their homes until more information was gathered: “Dear Nice residents, the driver of a truck appears to have caused tens of deaths. Stay for the moment in your homes. More info to come.”
A reporter for The Agence France-Presse (AFP) was on the scene, and described the terror that transpired:
“We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around,” he said, adding that the incident took place near the Hotel Negresco. Terrified pedestrians screamed as they fled the area. “It was absolute chaos,” he said.
Eyewitnesses report that gunfire was exchanged, but it is unknown who was doing the shooting. At this point in time, there is no confirmation that the driver was affiliated with terrorist movements, but The Guardian points out that the method has been used by jihadist groups in the past. This is an ongoing story, which will be updated as new details emerge.
UPDATE #1: Reuters is relaying that the death toll has already surpassed 70 as reported by a French news channel. CNN’s online running updates still list the number around 30, but their live television report has updated to 80 dead. CNN also reveals that French police have shot and killed the truck driver. Authorities uncovered explosives and firearms in the truck. French President Francois Hollande is also en route to Paris from Avignon and is expected to address the incident soon.
UPDATE #2: According to The Guardian, the driver was 31-year-old with dual French-Tunisian nationality. His ID was found in the car, and it was confirmed that he was a resident of Nice.
(Via The Guardian)