Every year, in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, thousands show up and show out for Carnival, one of the world’s largest Mardi Gras celebrations. Celebrants party with music, bands and parades with big floats made by the people. Carnival is normally a joyous occasion, but this year, the party was cut short due to tragedy. 16 people were killed in a freak accident.
At 2:48 AM, a sound truck carrying the popular Haitian hip-hop band Barikad Crew with massive speakers struck a power line. As a result a good number of people were electrocuted. In addition to the 16 killed, 78 were injured. Officials are calling the incident an accident.
Christian Lemaine, who was walking alongside the float, described, “It all happened suddenly and quickly. I heard a loud noise, like an electric explosion, felt a quick electrocution through my body, particularly through my elbows and I automatically ducked away.”
“There is nothing like carnival in Haiti. It is the most enjoyable moment for the people. So when something like this happens, it is sad, really sad,” said Gregory Saba, president of the National Carnival Committee.
In honor of the victims, mourners dressed in white and holding candles gathered on the Champ de Mars, “the vast network of public squares where the three-day pre-Lenten national carnival kicked off Sunday” and the scene of the tragedy.