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Car Crashes into Carnival in Belgium Leaving Six Dead

Belgium car crash carnival
The town of Strépy-Bracquegnies, Belgium, where a car crashed into a carnival killing six people and leaving 10 seriously injured on Sunday. Authorities do not believe it was terror-related. Credit: Jean-Pol Grandmont/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 3.0

A car crashed into revelers at a carnival parade in Belgium on Sunday, leaving at least six people dead and 10 people with severe injuries. Authorities do not believe it was terror-related.

The crash occurred as people were preparing carnival celebrations at around 5 AM in the small town of Strépy-Bracquegnies in southern Belgium. According to tradition, a group of revelers meet at dawn and then move from house to house, picking up people to join the parade as they go.

According to Jacques Gobert, who is the mayor of the nearby town of La Louvière, as many as 200 people were gathered where the crash eventually took place.

Car crash in Belgium turned carnival into a tragedy

This was the first parade to take place in two years, as the carnival had been banned due to the coronavirus, and participants were looking forward to celebrating and enjoying the event.

The carnival is a beloved festival in the area, and involves music and costumes. Instead of being a joyous celebration, “what happened turned it into a national catastrophe,” Gobert stated to local news source Bel RTL.

Belgian Interior Minister Anelies Verlinden said in a statement that “what should have been a great party turned into a tragedy.”

After crashing into the group of people, the driver continued for a short distance, but was soon found by police nearby, along with another passenger. The two people are from the area and are aged in their 30s.

Authorities do not believe it was motivated by terrorism

Terrorists across Europe have turned to using cars as weapons in recent years, as they can avoid the scrutiny that often comes with purchasing weapons or ingredients used for explosives, and preventing such car attacks is especially difficult.

Due to this recent trend, many believed that the attack was linked to terrorism when it first occurred, but local authorities have stated that there is no indication that it is terror-related.

Local prosecutor Damien Verheyen stated during a press conference that there is no evidence that the tragic even was terror-related:

“At this stage, there are no elements to suggest that the attack had a terrorist motive.”

When the crash first occurred, there were reports that the car had been involved in a high-speed chase with police, but Verheyen stated that it was untrue.

King Philippe of Belgium and the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will travel to the small town of Strépy-Bracquegnies where the attack occurred on Sunday.

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