Latin America & Caribbean

Three days of mourning for Haiti carnival float victims

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Media captionFootage from the scene shows the chaos that followed the incident

Three days of mourning have been declared in Haiti after a power line fell on to a carnival float in the capital, Port au Prince.

At least 16 people died in the accident, prompting officials to cancel the final day of the carnival.

Witnesses said someone on the float used a stick to move the power line to let the float pass, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Some of the victims were electrocuted while others died in the ensuing panic.

Officials said a further 78 people had been injured.

Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul said a silent parade would be held later on Tuesday to honour the dead.

Those in attendance will wear white and march along the Champ de Mars where the accident occurred.

The three days of mourning will officially begin on Wednesday, with flags to be flown at half-mast.

A state funeral will be held for the victims on Saturday.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Relatives arrived at the hospital to find out whether their loved ones had survived
Image copyright AP
Image caption The float was struck by a power line, electrocuting several people

The float, one of 16 in the parade, was sponsored by the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew.

The power line struck the group's singer Fantom, who remains in hospital in a critical condition.

Hundreds of people were reported to have gathered outside the hospital, waiting for news of their loved ones.

Haitian President Michel Martelly gave his condolences to the victims on Twitter.

"My sincere sympathy to the victims of the serious incident at Champ de Mars on the second day of carnival," the president tweeted in French.

Witnesses said some people managed to jump off the float, causing panic amid the crowd surrounding it.

"I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for my life," Natacha Saint Fleur told the Associated Press.

Thousands of people had been attending the carnival in the capital when the accident happened.

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