At least 20 people died after an electrical wire collapsed onto a packed float during carnival celebrations in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, an official said.
Nadia Lochard, a coordinator for the Department of Civil Protection, said another 46 people were injured, the Associated Press reported.
Witnesses told AP that the electrocution occurred when someone on the float — sponsored by hip-hop collective Barikad Crew — poked an overhead power cable with a pole in an attempt to create space for the float to pass underneath.
A number of the victims were instantly electrocuted in a flash of sparks, while others jumped off the float, causing panic in the crowd, witnesses said.
Natacha Saint Fleur, a 22-year-old reveler who was standing near the float at the time, said: "I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for my life."
On Tuesday, officials in Haiti said they canceled the last day of carnival and called for three days of mourning, Reuters reported.
After the accident, Haitian President Michel Martelly tweeted his condolences:
He said: "My sincere sympathies to the victims of the serious incident that occurred this morning at the Champ de Mars on the second day of Carnival. #Haiti"
AP reported that hundreds of people headed to the city's General Hospital, with some carrying victims and others seeking family members who had been brought there by ambulance.
Every year, thousands of Haitians throng the streets for Port-au-Prince's annual carnival celebrations in the largest Mardi Gras party in the country.
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Francis Whittaker at email@example.com.
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