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5 dead, 15 injured after float drives through carnival crowd

DESDUNES — Five people died, and another 15 were injured after being hit by a carnival float in Desdunes, a commune in the Artibonite Department, early morning on Mar. 2, according to local reports. 

The driver of the float fled after the crash, according to Justice of the Peace Oriol Thomas’s initial report. According to a report, the driver was inexperienced and had replaced the original chauffeur, who was too intoxicated to maneuver the vehicle.

Video of the fatal crash has since gone viral. It shows dozens of people dancing to carnival music in the street. A loud honk sounds, then the one-story carnival float runs through the crowd.

One man who was struck by the float is seen quickly getting up, then running away with dust alongside his body. 

“People died,” another man said, agitated. “Here are dead people. Desdunes is in mourning.”

The names of the people who died, two women and three men, have yet to be released.

“I’m very sad by the death of five of our compatriots [today] in Desdunes during carnival festivities,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry tweeted. “My thoughts go out to the families of the victims, as well as to the injured.”

Many of the injured are reported to be in critical condition.

Mar. 2 was the final day of the local carnivals festivities, which lasted three days.

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