ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A runaway car crashed into a crowd at a large street party in southern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing seven and injuring many, authorities told The Associated Press.
The driver lost control of the car on a crowded street in Calabar, the capital of Cross River state, just as people were gathering to watch a motorcycle parade at the Calabar carnival, Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps said. .
Tuesday’s biker show is one of the highlights of the carnival event known as one of the biggest street parties in Africa. The annual carnival has regularly drawn people from across Nigeria and beyond since it began nearly two decades ago.
Thousands had gathered to watch the stunts of the motorcyclists when the car crashed into people, scattering bodies and leaving injuries along the road, witnesses said.
Hassan Abdullahi Maikano, head of the Cross River highway security force, told the AP that the car was traveling at high speed when it passed security checks.
“The motorist lost control and ran into the crowd. The total number of those involved were 36; seven died and 29 were injured,” Maikano said, adding that five of the injured were children. The driver survived but was injured, he added.
Cross River Gov. Ben Ayade ordered the parade canceled and the conductor arrested, according to Christian Ita, his spokesman.
Ita said the governor expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and ordered an immediate investigation into how the accident occurred.