Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Multiple Deaths in Haiti Carnival Accident

Multiple Deaths in Haiti Carnival Accident
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 line.

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 AP.

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.

In 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 figure.

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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