Six people were killed and 10 others left with serious injuries when a car crashed into a carnival reveller in southeastern Belgium.
Annelies Verlinden, Belgian Interior Minister, said that “what should have been an amazing party turned into tragedy.”
According to the prosecutor’s office which also gave the death toll, two men in their thirties were also arrested on the spot in Strepy–Bracquegnies (50 km (30 miles) south-east of Brussels). Prosecutors stated that in the initial stages of their investigation there was no evidence to suggest a terrorist motive.
Carnival revelers gathered at dawn to meet others and finally have their beloved festivity back after being banned for two years due to COVID-19. Many wore colorful costumes with bells and walked to the beat of drums. It was to be a day for deliverance.
Mayor Jacques Gobert said that instead, “What happened turned it into a nation catastrophe.”
Around 5 a.m., more than 150 people from all walks of life had gathered to form a dense crowd and walked along a straight stretch of road. “Suddenly, a car came from the back at high speeds. Gobert stated that there were several injured people and many who have been killed.
Two people were taken into custody after their car stopped a few hundred metres (yards) further.
Thoughts of terror motives are not far from mind six years after Belgium was attacked by twin terror attacks in Brussels, and Zaventem which killed 32 civilians,
Prosecutor Damien Verheyen stated that “there is no evidence in the investigation that permits me to believe that the motivations for the two could be terror-related.”
Media reports that a police pursuit vehicle may have caused the accident also were denied by the prosecutor’s office.
King Philippe, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and King Philippe were expected to visit Strepy–Bracquegnies on Sunday to show support to the families of the deceased and the injured.
The area is very popular for Carnival. The Binche Carnival celebrations have been designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.