Tragedy in France after 'lorry attack' on Nice streets

Tragedy in France after 'lorry attack' on Nice streets
3 min read
15 July, 2016
French authorities have said at least 80 people in Nice have been killed after a lorry - loaded with guns and grenades - drove into a crowd in Nice.
At least 80 people have been killed, and scores injured, after a lorry "zig zagged" ploughed into pedestrians in the French city of Nice, late Thursday evening. 

The driver reportedly shot at survivors at the scene, before being gunned down by military. 

French authorities are describing the incident as "an attack" and anti-terrorist experts have taken over the investigation.

Crowds had gathered to watch a firework display for national Bastille Day celebrations in the southern city, when the lorry drove into spectators.

'Deliberate attack'

A spokesman for France's interior ministry said there are likely to be "several dozen dead" as the truck drove into crowds walking along the city's main boulevard.

Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV "it's going to be a very high toll".

Authorities said the lorry was loaded with guns and grenades while there are unconfirmed reports that the driver fired into crowds through the windscreen.

[Click to enlarge]
Images of the scene show the windscreen of the white lorry riddled with bullet holes.

The death toll is likely to rise and the street scattered with corpses, in one of the busiest parts of the city on one of France's most important national holidays.

Sylvie Toffin, a press officer with the local prefecture, said the truck "hit several people on a long trip" down the sidewalk near Nice's Palais de la Méditerranee, a building which fronts the beach.

Bodies everywhere

The truck drove at the crowd at a high speed for around several hundred metres, with eyewitnesses confirming the incident was a deliberate.

"There was carnage on the road," Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native said. "Bodies everywhere."

Bouhlel said he witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting, but French authorities have not confirmed the driver firing on the crowd.

The Islamic State group - the chief suspect - have not claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

"The driver of a van appears to have killed dozens. Stay in your homes for now. More info to follow," Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi wrote on Twitter.

France is now on high alert, as authorities fear more attacks may follow, but a reported hostage situation has been denied.

World response

World leaders have already offered their support to France. US presidential hopeful Donald Trump took the rare step of cancelling an event on Friday, where he was due to announce his running mate for upcoming elections.

The new UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "shocked and concerned" by the scenes in the Mediterranean resort.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister is being kept updated on reports coming in from Nice.

"We are shocked and concerned by the scenes there. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.

"We stand ready to help any British nationals and to support our French partners."

Agencies contributed to this story.