A truck plowed into a festive crowd celebrating the French national Bastille Day holiday on Thursday, leaving up to 73 people dead, including entire families who had been enjoying the party-like atmosphere on the Promenade des Anglais in the French Riviera city of Nice, France.
Ongoing coverage of the horrifying attack will stream live on this page. Scroll down to view the live stream coverage.
UPDATE 3:05 a.m. EDT: The death toll from the truck attack is now reported at 84 people killed. There has been no claim of responsibility by any jihadist or other terrorist group as yet.
UPDATE 11:45 p.m. EDT: French President Francois Hollande has now officially described the Nice massacre as a “terrorist” attack.
“We must show absolute vigilance and determination,” he said on French television Friday morning. “All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
At the same time, though authorities have not released his name, the driver of the killer truck was identified by identification documents found at the scene as a 31-year-old resident of Nice who was born in Tunisia.
Hollande also extended the national state of emergency that had been set to expire later this month, and called up military reserves to strengthen the nation’s security forces.
UPDATE 9:45 pm EDT: The truck attack in Nice, France, killed 77 people, according to regional President Christian Estrosi, who announced the grim toll on his Twitter feed.
French President Francois Hollande later updated the death toll to 80.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 15, 2016
Witnesses say that the driver of the white tractor-trailer truck first fired a weapon into the crowd gathered for a fireworks display to celebrate Bastille Day, the French Independence Day, then drove the vehicle into the gathered mass of revelers for at least two kilometers — about 1.2 miles — before police were able to shoot and kill the man.
“A huge white track appeared at breakneck speed, swerving around to mow down a maximum number of people,” wrote a local newspaper reporter, Damien Allemand who was at the scene. “This truck of death came within a few meters of me and I didn’t realize it. I saw bodies flying like bowling pins.”
Allemand also described a gut-wrenching scene of “lifeless bodies every five meters, body parts, blood, wailing.”
Terrorism is suspected in the attack, as the driver reportedly jumped out of the truck’s cabin and opened fire on the crowd before French security police killed him.
— RT (@RT_com) July 14, 2016
The name of the driver has not been released publicly, but according to media reports out of France, his identity was previously known to the French security forces.
The English-language France 24 news channel provides a live stream of the attack coverage from Nice, in the video below.
Coverage from United States-based cable news network CNN can be viewed in the following video.
Roads leading to the site of the Bastille Day celebration, where a large crowd had gathered, were supposed to have been closed. How the truck managed to get past police and reach the crowd remains uncertain.
The attack took place at around 10 p.m. local time in Nice, or about 4 p.m. United States East Coast Time on Thursday. There were reports of other gunmen at large in the coastal city of roughly 340,000 people, but those reports were not confirmed and French authorities said that they were not accurate.
Witnesses described the truck “ramming” into the crowd at the area where people were most densely packed, with other witnesses reporting that the truck appeared to accelerate as it closed in on the revelers. Initial reports said that “tens” of people had been killed.
“We were enjoying the celebrations when we suddenly saw people running everywhere and tables being pushed down by the movement of panic,” 15-year-old witness Daphne Burandé told the New York Times. “No one explained to us what was happening and I heard some gunshots not very far away. I waited at the bar for more information because I thought it was a false alert. But then, people were still running.”
Witness to the truck attack in Nice, France: “It felt like a war scene” https://t.co/Ss3EkdIEgq
— TIME.com (@TIME) July 15, 2016
France has been under a state of emergency since last November’s terror attacks in Paris, but French President François Hollande had been scheduled to lift that state of emergency later in July. Whether the state of emergency will be lifted or will now remain in place has not yet been determined by the government of France.
While as of early Friday morning in France, authorities had not yet officially categorized the Bastille Day horror as a terrorist attack — preferring to refer to the incident simply as “an attack” — if terrorism is indeed confirmed in the truck attack, it would be the third such mass-casualty terror attack in France since January of 2015, when gunmen slaughtered staffers at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, and took hostages in a Jewish delicatessen in Paris.
The death toll was originally reported at 30, but by early Friday morning the number of deaths from the Nice, France, alleged terrorist truck attack had risen to 73.
[Photo By Claude Paris /AP Images]