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Electrocutions Mar Carnival Festivities in Haiti and Rio

Electrocutions Mar Carnival Festivities in Haiti and Rio

At least 21 people died Tuesday in separate incidents where packed Carnival floats struck power lines, electrocuting and injuring those on board.

In Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, at least 20 people were killed early Tuesday when a music group’s float hit a low-hanging power line, causing them to be electrocuted, officials said. Officials in Brazil say at least three people were electrocuted while standing atop a float that hit a power line near Rio de Janeiro.

The Haitian accident occurred as thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince for the raucous annual celebration. People at the scene said someone on the float touched an overhead power line with a pole or stick as the float passed underneath it.

It is a common practice in Haiti and elsewhere to have someone at the top of a parade float who moves low-hanging power lines.

Electrocutions Mar Carnival Festivities in Haiti and RioThere were conflicting reports on the number of casualties. Nadia Lochard, a co-ordinator for the Department of Civil Protection, said at least 20 people were killed and 46 were injured.

The float, one of 16 in the downtown Carnival parade, was sponsored by the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew. Some of the victims were instantly electrocuted in a flash of sparks, according to witnesses. Others managed to jump off, causing panic in the crowd. “I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for my life,” said Natacha Saint Fleur, a 22-year-old who was near the float at the time.

The accident in Brazil happened early Tuesday when a float carrying speakers for a street party brushed against the power line in the city of Nova Iguacu, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

The Light power company confirmed three people died in the accident. Firefighters said at least one other person was taken to a hospital and three others were aided on the scene. None appear to have life-threatening injuries.

The Globe and Mail


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This entry was posted on February 17, 2015 by in Haiti, Headlines, World and tagged , , , , .

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