At least 20 people were killed in Haiti’s capital Tuesday when they were electrocuted by a power line that fell on a music group's packed Carnival float, officials say.
The 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 used a pole or stick to move a power line so the float could pass under it.
At least 20 people were killed and 46 were injured, according to Nadia Lochard, a coordinator for the Department of Civil Protection.
The float was sponsored by the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew and caught fire in the incident, witnesses said.
Video of the incident appeared to show the electric cable hitting the head of a singer in the group near the parade’s presidential stand, which was packed with spectators, Reuters reports.
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.
Hundreds of people thronged the General Hospital, where many of the victims were taken, some carrying victims and others searching for family members brought by ambulance.
In a Twitter message, Haitian President Michel Martelly expressed his "sincerest sympathies" to the victims, while his wife visited hospitals that were treating the injured, Reuters reports.
The annual street parade coincides with similar Mardi Gras carnivals around the world and attracts large crowds who watch competing musical acts atop decorated floats.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.