Witnesses to the deadly Bastille Day attack in Nice, France are describing the scene as one of total “chaos” and “carnage.”
At least 80 people were killed when a large truck drove onto the Promenade des Anglais, full of Bastille Day revellers, scattering bodies over more than 100 metres.
Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke to the Associated Press, said that he saw the truck drive into the crowd.
“There was carnage on the road,” Bouhlel said. “Bodies everywhere.”
Bouhlel said he then saw the truck driver emerge with a gun and start shooting.
Nice journalist Damien Allemand was at the fireworks display near the attack and had just got up to leave when he heard a noise and cries.
“A fraction of a second later, an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people,” he said.
“I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget.”
Kayla Repan, of Boca Raton, Florida, was among the hundreds gathered on the promenade to watch fireworks.
“The whole city was running. I got extremely frightened and ran away from the promenade,” she said. “It was chaos. We hid in a restaurant but now we moved to a separate hotel.”
Yves Lamorelle, in Nice running a chess club for the week, told USA Today that he was at a café near to where the attack occurred.
“I was having a drink, but after a few minutes people started running toward us from the promenade. Then all the cafe terraces started to clear out in a scary type of chaos,” Lamorelle said.
“The tables, the chairs, the glasses got turned over. People were stepping on top of each other without even knowing why.”
Raffelina Sirianni, a Kamloops resident on vacation in the south of France, spoke with Global News while holed up in an apartment in the area after the attack.
“It’s absolutely devestating — it’s terrifying,” Sirianni.
She had been along the promenade earlier in the day but left for the evening. After arriving back at her hotel, Sirianni learned of the attack which occurred just down the road.
“We can see it from our balcony.”
She said there were families and children at the festive celebrations, the promenade “brimming with activity.” She said the truck driver would have gone through barricades blocking off the roadway to vehicle for the festivities.
Two women from Edmonton, in Europe on vacation, told Global News they were drinking coffee along the Promenade des Anglais just hours before the attack.
“We would have actually been there, probably watching the fireworks, when everything happened,” Rhein said.
“It’s hard to imagine because we were just there and sitting on this beautiful promenade,” Wosar added. “We really were enjoying our time there. We thought it was such a beautiful place, we were having such a lovely time.”
The women said they felt very safe while in Nice and everyone was really friendly.
“It’s saddening, it’s shocking and our prayers are with the people of France.”
*With files from The Associated Press and Global News’ Caley Ramsay