At least 30 people were killed Thursday in a terror attack in Nice, France when a truck crashed into a crowd of holiday revelers.
French news agency AFP reported that police are investigating a possible terrorist “attack” and there were unconfirmed reports of the sound of gunfire from the scene.
Witnesses said the truck “rammed” the crowd where it was thickest at more than 30mph, and images emerged of the cab riddled with bullets.
Crowds had packed out the city’s main promenade to watch a fireworks display marking Bastille Day, a major public holiday in France.
One witness reported horrific scenes with “dead bodies everywhere” and distressing video footage emerged of people fleeing the Promenade des Anglais, in the southern French city, in terror.
One eyewitnesse raised fears that the incident “had to be planned”.
They said: “I’m in Nice and cannot describe the situation – scary awful. Dead bodies everywhere people killed in front of my eyes. Had to be planned.”
A reporter for the Nice Matin newspaper who was covering the celebrations added: “There are people in blood, probably full of wounded.”
Local paper Nice Matin posted a photograph online of the white truck riddled with bullets, suggesting that police fired at the driver as it careered into the crowds.
A witness told the paper: “We had just crossed the road and there was a huge crowd of people. We were returning and we heard ‘boom, boom, boom’ and we saw a lorry on the promenade which ploughed right through.
“My son was there right next to it. It hit where the crowd was thickest and was travelling very quickly – about 50km per hour (31mph).”
It is not yet known whether or not the driver is dead or alive.
A hashtag was also started up on Twitter – #portesouvertesnice – for shellshocked witnesses and victims of the attack looking for somewhere to spend the night.