Bastille Day Crash Update: Latest News and Death Toll in Nice, France, Attack
A violent attack on Bastille Day revelers in the seaside city of Nice, France, left 84 dead, according the French Interior Ministry, the Associated Press reported, and up to 100 injured Thursday night after a large truck plowed through a crowd of people who had gathered to watch holiday fireworks, according to CNN. That attack began as the fireworks display ended, just after 10:30 p.m. local time, reported Reuters.
The truck reportedly aimed at the crowd, CNN reported, "mowing bodies over" as it sped along Nice's Boulevard des Anglais. According to the New York Times, one of the first victims was a Muslim woman. Two Americans were also among the dead, according to the U.S. state department.
The truck's driver was reportedly fatally shot by French police. The truck was found to be "loaded with arms and grenades," said regional official Christian Estrosi, the AP reported in a tweet.
Witnesses to the crash reported a horrific scene. Damien Allemand, a local journalist, wrote about what he had seen online, the AP reported, saying "an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people. ... I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget."
In a video for the AP, Kayla Repan, an American tourist visiting Nice from Florida along with her fiance, described the scene of the attack. "We didn't, at this point, have any idea what we were running from ... we just booked it," she said. "I just grabbed my fiance and we started running."
Dominique Molina, an American, saw the attack from a balcony. "People were flooding the streets, just walking away from the show, and I heard a lot of loud noises and people were screaming and so to the west, a big moving truck was driving on the promenade, just barreling over people and hitting — running people over," she told CNN.
Molina was with her teenage son at the time. "It's something you're not supposed to see," she said. "I grabbed my son, I felt like shielding him, protecting him from seeing that," she said.
Graphic videos recorded at the scene show bodies scattered on the street. "There was carnage on the road," Wassim Bouhlel, a resident of Nice, told the AP. "Bodies everywhere."
In an address early Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande spoke to the nation. "The horror, the horror has, once again, hit France," Hollande said, according to the New York Times. "France has been struck on the day of her national holiday."
According to the AP, the local children's hospital in Nice reported that it had treated "some 50 children and adolescents injured in the truck attack." The hospital was reportedly asking families of patients admitted before the attack to take their children home in order to free up space for victims.
The AP reported in a tweet on Friday that the country will observe three days of national mourning after Thursday's attack.
July 15, 2016, 10:31 a.m.: This story has been updated.