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At Least 20 Killed In Haiti Carnival Freak Power Line Accident

Tuesday February 17, 2015    10:57 AM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - At least 20 people on a packed Carnival float were killed when one of them touched a high-voltage power line, leading to electrocution and a fire, officials in Haiti said.

The accident occurred as thousands filled the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince for the raucous annual celebration. Witnesses said someone on the float used a pole or stick to move a power line so the float could pass under it.

The three-day street parade coincides with other Mardi Gras carnivals around the world and attracts large night-time crowds eager to witness competing music bands atop highly decorated floats.

At least 20 people were killed and 46 were injured, Nadia Lochard, a coordinator for the Department of Civil Protection, told The Associated Press. Seven were killed on the float and others died in the ensuing panic, Reuters reported.

The float was sponsored by the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew.

"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.

Hundreds of people thronged a hospital where many of the victims were taken, some carrying victims and others searching for family members brought by ambulance.

President Michel Martelly expressed his sympathies to victims in a Twitter post.

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