Terror struck the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, this early Tuesday after a carnival float hit a power line on the second day of the annual festival. According to Nadia Lochard, a coordinator for the Department of Civil Protection at least 20 people were killed and 46 injured, after a power line fell on to the carnival float. "I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for my life" said the 22-year-old, Natacha Saint Fleur, who was standing close to the float at the time.
Witnesses claim that the incident occurred when someone attempted to move the power line with a stick to let the float pass. Officials say that the high voltage cable came in contact with a singer of the Barikad Crew, a haitian hip hop band. According to witnesses, some victims got electrocuted instantly, while others sprung out of the float which caused panic in the surrounding crowd. Haitian ambulance crews, rush the victims to nearby hospitals, by racing through thousands in the crowd.
The carnival float was sponsored by Barikad Crew, a Haitian hip hop group. In Haiti and other places, it is common to have someone standing on top of a parade float to move the power lines that are low-hanging. Hundreds of people rushed to nearby hospitals, as some carried the injured and others searched for their family members in the ambulance. Dr. Joel Desire at the General Hospital claims the death of 20 individuals mostly due to electrocution and others due to shock.
On Twitter, President Michel Martelly, offered his condolences to the victims and their families while his wife treated the injured by visiting hospitals. The President tweeted in french saying "My sincere sympathy to the victims of the serious incident at Champ de Mars, on the second day of the carnival". Rothschild Francis Junior, the communications minister said in a statement "The government sends its condolences to the families of the victims and stands ready to assist everyone affected by this tragedy".
The catastrophe will cause serious damage to the Haiti's crumbling economy, which is still recovering from the 2010 colossal earthquake that killed nearly 200,000 people.