A raucous Mardi Gras parade that packed the
streets with thousands of revelers in the Haitian capital of
Port-au-Prince ended in tragedy Tuesday when a high-voltage wire
hit a float. At least 16 people died in the ensuing panic.
Prime Minister Evans Paul, who declared national days of
mourning through Saturday, put the number of dead at 16.
Emergency officials said the death toll might be higher. Scores
of people were injured, many trampled amid the panic.
The float, packed with members of the Barikad Crew and their
fans, had just passed the viewing stand for Haitian President
Michel Martelly when it hit a low-hanging power line, according
to multiple media reports.
Band manager Youri Chevry told the Miami Herald that Crew
singer Fantom "thought he had cleared the power line. Our float
was high and he was standing up. He was talking and from the
video footage I saw, his head hit the power line."
Chevry told the Herald that Fantom was in stable condition —
and said physicians were surprised that the singer didn't suffer
a heart attack or die after coming in contact with the power
A state funeral for the victims was scheduled for Saturday in
the impoverished nation of 10 million.
Joel Desire, a physician at General Hospital, told the
Associated Press that most of those killed appeared to have been
trampled to death as the crowd surged away from the Carnival
float, one of 16 in the downtown parade.
"I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for
my life," Natacha Saint Fleur, 22, who was near the float, told
Nadia Lochard, coordinator for the Department of Civil
Protection, told the Herald that officials were checking with
hospitals to find out how many people were killed or injured.
She told the newspaper that authorities are reviewing video
footage to find out what exactly caused the accident.
this picture Fantom from barikad crew just got electrocuted ...
Witnesses say about 20 people may have been
killed in the accident. It occurred before dawn Tuesday as
thousands of people packed the streets of downtown
Port-au-Prince for the raucous celebration.
Authorities were responding to the scene and
it was not immediately possible to get an official casualty
People at the scene said the accident occurred when someone
on the packed float had used a stick or a pole to move a
power line. Some managed to jump off the float and escape,
sparking panic in the crowd.
Hundreds of people thronged the General Hospital, some
carrying victims and others searching for family members
brought by ambulance.
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