Haiti was plunged into mourning yesterday and carnival festivities were canceled after at least 16 people died when a high-voltage cable hit a parade float in the capital, Port-au-Prince, before dawn on Tuesday.
Another 78 people were injured in the accident, which occurred shortly before 3am as thousands watched, marring what is normally a joyful high point of the year in the Caribbean country.
Authorities cancelled the third and last day of the carnival celebrations and declared three days of mourning.
Several thousand people, including Haitian President Michel Martelly and Cabinet head Evans Paul, participated in a silent march along the carnival route to pay homage to the victims later on Tuesday. Musicians silenced their instruments and dancers walked quietly — a stark contrast to the revelry of the previous day.
Along the Champ de Mars, the parade ground not far from the presidential palace where the accident took place, the bleachers — normally full of festive crowds — stood quiet.
“What happened is a tragedy,” Paul said.
The float — carrying a popular rap group called the Barikad Crew — struck a power line overhead as it made its way through the Champ de Mars, electrocuting the dancers and musicians riding on it.
The group’s star singer, who goes by the name “Fantom,” was struck directly by the fallen cable and was in hospital, the Web site Haiti Press Network said.
Some of the injured were hurt in the ensuing crush of revelers who panicked upon seeing the accident.
Family members besieged a main hospital complex in the capital to find their loved ones as doctors struggled to treat those injured by the huge electrical shock. Others went to identify the dead.
Paul had called on Haitians to pay homage to the dead by marching silently at the Champ de Mars.
“Sharing in the grief of the families affected by this drama, the government has decided to suspend all carnival festivities across the country,” his office said in a statement.
National funerals have been scheduled for Saturday.
Martelly extended his “sincere condolences” to the victims in a message on his Twitter account.
Haitian Minister of Communications Rotchild Francois said the government “stands ready to assist everyone affected by this tragedy.”
“The government has made all the arrangements to organize national funerals for the victims of the accident,” he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, three Brazilian revelers were electrocuted early on Tuesday while standing atop a carnival float that hit a power line, officials said.
In an e-mailed statement, the Light power company confirmed the deaths occurred during a carnival celebration in Nova Iguacu, a city of 800,000 people on the northern outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Firefighters said at least one other person was taken to a hospital and three others were aided on the scene. None appear to have life-threatening injuries.
Additional reporting by AP
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single