NICE, France — At least 84 people were killed Thursday night when a large truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, tweeted regional President Christian Estrosi.
The driver pointed his tractor-trailer into the crowd and accelerated, mowing bodies over, witnesses said. Police shot the driver to death, authorities said. Nobody has claimed responsibility
Here are the latest developments in the tragedy:
• The attack in Nice, France, began when an occupant of the truck shot into the crowd and then drove for 2 kilometers along the pavement of the Boulevard des Anglais, the main street in Nice, Estrosi told BFM-TV. He said police later found firearms, explosives and grenades in the truck.
• American Dominique Molina, who was watching from a balcony, said the fireworks had just ended and a crowd on the beach was disbanding. “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 estimated the truck moved at 20-25 mph.
• Anti-terror prosecutors have taken over the investigation, according to BFMTV, citing the prosecutor’s office.
• Preliminary information from French officials is that there was one individual in the truck, according to a U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the attack. The individual, a male, was killed by police, according to the official.
• Witness Ryan Hubbs said he encountered people on the street who’d lost multiple family members. They weren’t sure what to do but waited for authorities, though that was very difficult for them.
• President Obama issued a statement condemning the attack and saying, “We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.”
• U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in Nice. Any U.S. citizens in Nice should contact friends and family directly to inform them of their well being.”
• Subprefect Sebastien Humbert, of the Alpes-Maritimes region, described the incident as a “major criminal attack,” according to AFP.
• The driver of the truck that drove into the crowd was shot dead by police, said Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for French Interior Ministry. There was no hostage situation at any point, he said.
• U.S. President Barack Obama has been apprised of the situation in Nice and his national security team will update him, said National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price.
• Witness Tony Molina said he can see 70-100 emergency vehicles. Two helicopters have landed, he said. Bodies are covered in blue tarps and marked so emergency vehicles don’t run over them, he said.
• Maryam Violet, a witness, said she was walking along the beach and saw “a ton of people on the ground and on the sidewalk.” “You could see someone with a bike or a wheelchair and someone with a bag full of flowers, innocent and normal people on the beach.”
• French President Francois Hollande is returning to Paris from Avignon for emergency talks at the Interior Ministry after the mass casualty incident in Nice, according to French national radio.
• Facebook has activated the Safety Check feature for people in and around the area of the attack.
• An American witness at the scene said the driver of the truck was mowing bodies over, and that he appeared to accelerate as he hit those bodies. The witness said he saw only the driver. He heard gunfire as he ran away, but did not know its source. It seemed like an accident at first, but it became apparent very quickly that it was deliberate, the witness told CNN.
• BFM posted an image of the truck that reportedly was involved in the incident. The photo shows what appears to be bullet holes in the windshield of the white truck.
• Christian Estrosi, the head of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, said late Thursday: “Dear Nice residents, the driver of a truck appears to have caused tens of deaths. Stay for the moment in your homes. More info to come.”
• Eric Dartell was eating at a restaurant on the street where the incident happened. “You can see wreckage all along the way, a body, bicycles, street lamps and debris everywhere,” he said.
Developing story — more to come