Final Update: 18 killed and 76 injured in Haiti carnival accident

Published on by Joe Colas (author)

HCNN Haiti: 13 bodies on the floor of the general hospital following carnival accident (photo: )
HCNN Haiti: 13 bodies on the floor of the general hospital following carnival accident

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti's minister of Communication, Rotchild Francois Jr., announced on Wednesday that 18 people were killed and 76 injured as a result of an electric shock during the second day of the annual 3-day carnival parade in the Caribbean country where an official funeral will be held on Saturday, when a 3-day national mourning will end.

Francois said only 6 of the 76 injured, including popular star rapper Fantom, remained in the hospital, but are in stable condition. The two additional victims died in the hospital, according to the Communication minister. 

 Haitian President Michel Martelly and Prime minister Evans Paul and many artists, fans and other actors participated in a silent parade in the Champ de Mars area on Tuesday to honor the memory of the victims, shortly after the last day of the carnival launched on Sunday was canceled.

 "We cannot celebrate and dance over the bodies of those killed. We have to show respect and solidarity," Prime minister Evans Paul told reporters during press briefing on Tuesday. "The carnival is over," he said.

 "We will organize a national funeral for the victims and we have declared a 3-day national mourning, starting tomorrow until their funeral on the twenty-first of Feb.," Paul said.

 The Haitian Prime minister announced that the funeral of the deadly victims and healthcare costs the injured will taken in charge by the government. Paul said the decision to end prematurely the carnival parade was jointly made by the government, participating musical groups and other relevant actors.  

 An HCNN reporter saw 13 bodies (11 males and 2 females) laid down on the floor outside the morgue of the general hospital in the capital, but a representative of the country's civil protection office, Nadia Lochard, and government officials confirmed 5 additional deaths, including one lady, which brought the number of people killed to a total of 18.

Several dozen others injured, some very seriously, were being admitted at intensive care units in several hospitals in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince.

"It is a real tragedy! We have done all we could to try to revive and save a number of them, but unfortunately it was not possible," Dr. Max Saint-Albin told HCNN on Tuesday, as he stepped out of a special health facility set up by Haiti's First Lady on the main carnival site.

Most of them were reportedly killed by electrocution, while others died as a result of the general panic that caused other accidents. 17 of the bodies have been identified and contact has already been established with their relatives. Only the body of one lady has not yet been identified.

The float of the Barikad Crew rap group caught fire as it moved past an electric pole with a high tension cable on Rue Capois, in the Champ de Mars area.

One of the star rappers of the group, known as Phantom, who had first received the electric charges on top of the float, was feared dead. However, Dr. Saint-albin confirmed he was alive, but still in critical conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians were participating in an annual 3-day carnival parade that kicked off on Sunday.

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