Six die after car crashes into carnival crowd in Belgium

(CNN) — Six people were killed after a car crashed into a crowd that had gathered to attend a local carnival this Sunday morning in Strépy-Bracquegnies, near La Louvière, Belgium.

A further 10 people were taken to nearby hospitals with life-threatening injuries and 27 were “slightly injured”, Deputy Crown Prosecutor Damien Verheyen said.

As a group of carnival goers headed downtown, “a car came up from behind at high speed and collided with the group, pulverizing a large number of people and continuing on its way before coming to a stop a little further down,” the mayor of La Louvière, Jacques Gobert, told the press.

The two men in the car, both from La Louvière and born in 1988 and 1990, were detained, Verheyen said. He added that a “reconstruction of the facts” will be carried out to establish the exact route of the vehicle and any possible motive.

The incident occurred at 5 a.m. local time. Strépy-Bracquegnies is located 50 kilometers south of Brussels.

There is no evidence that a chase with police led to the incident, the officers said, contrary to earlier reports. They also said that so far “there are no elements” showing that the incident “can be considered a terrorist attack.”

Authorities said that five emergency vehicles and 16 ambulances were dispatched to the scene to transport the victims to various hospitals in the region; 70 uninjured people were evacuated from the scene.

King Philippe of Belgium and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo were expected to visit the scene at 4:00 p.m. local time on Sunday.

De Croo wrote in Twitter that “his thoughts were with the victims and their families.”

“Horrible news from Strépy-Bracquegnies. A community meeting to celebrate has been struck to the heart,” he wrote.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden also tweeted her condolences “to the families and friends of those killed and injured” in the incident.

“What was supposed to be a friendly party turned into a tragedy. We are following the situation closely,” he wrote in a Tweet.

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