Horror in the Haitian capital this morning, where by the AP's count at least 20 people on a music group's packed Carnival float were killed when they were electrocuted by a power line; the BBC puts the death toll at 18, and CNN reports a dozen are confirmed dead. The accident occurred as thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince for the raucous annual celebration. People at the scene said someone on the float used a pole or stick to move a power line so the float could pass under it. Some of the victims were instantly electrocuted in a flash of sparks, according to witnesses.
Others managed to jump off, causing panic in the crowd. The AP reports that in addition to the dead, at least 46 people were injured. The incident occurred at 2:48am EST, reports CNN, only hours after the start of Mardi Gras. "I saw the wire falling and sparks and I started running for my life," says a 22-year-old who was near the float, which was sponsored by the Haitian hip-hop group Barikad Crew, at the time. Hundreds of people thronged the General Hospital, where many of the victims were taken: Some people in the crowd were carrying victims, while others searched for family members brought by ambulance.