[UPDATE: 8:37 PM ET] The death toll in the attack by a truck driver in Nice, France, has risen to 80, said President Francois Hollande.
Obama Statement Nice France
U.S. President Barack Obama condemned what he said appeared to be a “horrific terrorist attack” in Nice, France. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack,” he said in a statement.
[UPDATE: 6:30 PM ET] At least 73 people were killed when a truck rammed a crowd, according to French media, citing the Nice prosecutor’s office.
CNN) — A long white truck ran into a crowd of people in Nice, France, on Bastille Day, killing “probably” 30 people and injuring 100 more, a local prefecture official told CNN.
One witness, an American who was about 15 feet from the truck, said the driver pointed his tractor trailer into the crowd and accelerated, mowing bodies over. The driver was shot to death, authorities said.
Here are the latest developments in the tragedy:
• Preliminary information from French officials is that there was one individual in the truck, according to a U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the attack. The individual, a male, was killed by police and it does not appear there was any gunfire from the truck, according to the official.
• Subprefect Sebastien Humbert, of the Alpes-Maritimes region, described the incident as a “major criminal attack,” according to AFP.
• The driver of the truck that drove into the crowd was shot dead by police, said Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for French Interior Ministry. There was no hostage situation at any point, he said.
• U.S. President Barack Obama has been apprised of the situation in Nice and his national security team will update him, said National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price.
• Witness Tony Molina said he can see 70-100 emergency vehicles. Two helicopters have landed, he said. Bodies are covered in blue tarps and marked so emergency vehicles don’t run over them, he said.
• Maryam Violet, a witness, said she was walking along the beach and saw “a ton of people on the ground and on the sidewalk.” “You could see someone with a bike or a wheelchair and someone with a bag full of flowers, innocent and normal people on the beach.”
• French President Francois Hollande is returning to Paris from Avignon for emergency talks at the Interior Ministry after the mass casualty incident in Nice, according to French national radio.
• Facebook has activated the Safety Check feature for people in and around the area of the attack.
• An American witness at the scene said the driver of the truck was mowing bodies over, and that he appeared to accelerate as he hit those bodies. The witness said he saw only the driver. He heard gunfire as he ran away, but did not know its source. It seemed like an accident at first, but it became apparent very quickly that it was deliberate, the witness told CNN.
• BFM posted an image of the truck that reportedly was involved in the incident. The photo shows what appears to be bullet holes in the windshield of the white truck.
• Christian Estrosi, the head of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, said late Thursday: “Dear Nice residents, the driver of a truck appears to have caused tens of deaths. Stay for the moment in your homes. More info to come.”
• Eric Dartell was eating at a restaurant on the street where the incident happened. “You can see wreckage all along the way, a body, bicycles, street lamps and debris everywhere,” he said.
Developing story — more to come