Black smoke over Eiffel Tower in Paris after Nice truck attack
Heavy black smoke has been seen rising over the iconic Eiffel Tower in the French capital city of Paris, shortly after 80 people lost their lives and dozens more sustained injuries when a truck plowed into a crowd of people in the country’s southern city of Nice.
Police officials said a lorry carrying fireworks for the French National Day, commonly known as the Bastille Day, burst into flames on Thursday night at the base of the tower. The officials also stressed that the incident is not terror-related.
Earlier, 80 people were reportedly killed and 50 others injured when a truck rammed into a group of people, who had converged on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice during a firework display.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi and security authorities have advised local residents to stay indoors.
There were some reports of gunfire exchange between security force, and the occupants of the lorry, but they have not been confirmed. The truck driver is said to have been shot and killed.
One image published on Twitter showed a white lorry stopped in the middle of the promenade with its front badly damaged. Four police officers were also taking cover behind a palm tree.
Another image showed a dozen people lying on the street in the aftermath of the truck attack. Social media video also showed people running through the streets in panic.
“Everyone was calling run, run, run there’s an attack run, run, run. We heard some shots. We thought they were fireworks because it’s July 14,” an eyewitness told BFM television news network.
“There was great panic. We were running too because we didn’t want to stick around and we went into a hotel to get to safety,” the witness added.
French President Francois Hollande, who was in the southeastern commune of Avignon, has returned to Paris, where he has joined a crisis meetings at the Interior Ministry.