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Mass Electrocution At Haiti Carnival Kills At Least 20

Electrical wires fell on a float during a parade in Port-au-Prince. Officials in Haiti canceled the last day of carnival and announced three days of mourning.

Last updated on February 17, 2015, at 1:31 p.m. ET

Posted on February 17, 2015, at 7:35 a.m. ET

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.

instagram.com / Via iamtico/Instagram

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:

Mes sincères sympathies aux victimes du grave incident survenu ce matin au Champ de Mars à l'occasion du 2ème jour gras du Carnaval. #Haiti

Michel J. Martelly@MichelJMartellyFollow

Mes sincères sympathies aux victimes du grave incident survenu ce matin au Champ de Mars à l'occasion du 2ème jour gras du Carnaval. #Haiti

10:15 AM - 17 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

An injured woman is carried by a friend in the General Hospital emergency room in Port-au-Prince on Feb. 17.
Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

An injured woman is carried by a friend in the General Hospital emergency room in Port-au-Prince on Feb. 17.