Bodies flew like bowling pins, says Nice witness

IANSUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 02:10 PM IST
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Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. Up to 30 people are feared dead and over 100 others were injured after a van drove into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French resort of Nice on July 14, a local official told French television, describing it as a "major criminal attack". / AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE |

Nice: When the killer truck ploughed through a crowd enjoying Bastille Day celebrations here killing 84 people, the bodies flew “like bowling pins along its path”, a horrified witness recalled.

Journalist Damien Allemand was, like countless others, enjoying the fireworks at what was a laid-back evening on Thursday. He saw kids throwing rocks in the water.

Suddenly, everything went wrong.

When he heard screams from a distance, Allemand — who works for digital service Nice-Matin — thought some fireworks may have gone out of control.

“A fraction of a second later, a huge white truck flew by at a crazy speed, driving over people, twisting the wheel to cut down the maximum number of people,” he said, recalling those deathly moments.

“This truck of death passed a few meters away from me and I didn’t realize it. I saw bodies fly like bowling pins along its path. Heard noises, screaming that I will never forget.

“I was frozen with fear,” he wrote in a post.

Frightened, Allemand briefly took refuge in a restaurant, Le Cocodile, but headed out because he needed to know what was happening.

What he saw numbed him.

“The Prom (seaside path near the beach) was deserted. Not a noise. Not a siren. Not a single car. So I crossed the traffic island to go back to the truck’s path.

“I bumped into Raymond, around 50, in tears, who gasped, ‘There are dead bodies everywhere.’ He was right.”

Every five meters, there were bodies — lifeless, limbs… blood.

“The beach attendants were the first on the scene. They brought water for the wounded and towels that they spread over those for whom there was no hope.

“Just then, I lost my nerve. I would have loved to help, to be of service… to do anything. But I didn’t. Frozen again.”

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