| 8 February 2023, Wednesday |

Belgium: Four dead as car hits carnival crowd

A car struck several people waiting to attend a carnival in the Belgian town of Strépy-Bracquegnies, 50 kilometers south of Brussels, which led to the killing of 4 people and the injury of 30 others on Sunday.

One child is among those who have died, while 12 others were seriously injured, according to Jacques Gobert, mayor of the neighboring town La Louviere. Twenty others sustained light injuries.

What do we know so far?

The incident took place early morning around 5 am local time (3:00 UTC) during a traditional early morning Carnival ceremony.

“A car drove from the back at high speed. And we have a few dozen injured and unfortunately several people who are killed,” Gobert told state broadcaster RTBF.

“The driver was intercepted as he tried to get away,” the mayor added.

The cause of the incident or whether the crash was intentional has not yet been determined.

Local news outlet Bel RTL quoted Gobert as saying that around 150 people had gathered to get ready for the annual folklore parade, involving costumes and drums.

From ‘music and smiles’ to ‘screaming’

First responders rushed to the scene and the town has triggered its emergency plan.

Many of those injured have been taken to a hospital in La Louviere, which is now in the pre-alert phase, local broadcaster Bel RTL reported.

Doctors have been called in and at least four people were being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU), it added.

Bel RTL reporter Fabrice Collignon was among those who witnessed the event.

“We heard an immense noise…and the car literally went into the group of people,” he said.

“It’s a scene I never thought I’d see in my life,” Collignon said, adding that “there was music and smiles and three seconds later, there were people screaming.”

Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden expressed her condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

“What was supposed to have been a great party turned into a tragedy. We are monitoring the situation closely,” she said in a tweet.


  • DW