A festive Bastille Day celebration turned into horror and heartbreak as at least 84 people were killed after a large truck plowed through a crowd in Nice, France, on Thursday night.
Ten children are among the dead, French prosecutor François Molins said Friday. More than 200 people are injured, with 52 in critical condition and 25 in a coma, he added.
The truck had zigzagged through the throng with its headlights off to “kill as many as possible,” according to at least one eyewitness. Bodies covered with blue, white and silver sheets lined the streets afterward. One heartbreaking photo appears to show a very young victim next to a doll.
The motive of the driver, who was killed by police, is still unclear, but French President Francois Hollande said “the terrorist nature of this attack can’t be ignored,” noting that it came on a holiday celebrating the country’s independence.
Here’s what we know so far about the innocents killed in the attack.
Linda Casanova, 54
Linda Casanova, a 54-year-old customs inspector from Ticino, an Italian-speaking region in Switzerland, was killed in the attack, her brother told local newspaper Corriere de Ticino. She was in Nice with her French husband Gilles, who survived the attack, the paper said. Authorities in Switzerland said earlier that a Swiss woman was among the victims.
L’Express spoke with Hamza Charrihi, 28, and his father, Ahmed, outside the Mediterranean University Center in Nice, which has been transformed into a gathering point for the family members of victims.
Charrihi said his mother was the first person killed in the rampage along Nice’s coastal promenade.
“She was the first victim. There were no other corpses before her,” he told L’Express.
Charrihi was “an extraordinary mom” of seven children and a devout Muslim who wore a headscarf, according to her son.
“What I can say is, she wore the hijab, she practiced an Islam of the right balance. The true Islam,” he said. “But that is not the one practiced by the terrorists.”
Brodie Copeland, 11
Brodie Copeland was in Nice with his father, Sean. A post on the Facebook page for Hill Country Baseball said both would be “remembered by many.”
“Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family. You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers,” the post read.
The Copeland family issued a statement: “We are heartbroken and in shock over the loss of Brodie Copeland, an amazing son and brother who lit up our lives, and Sean Copeland, a wonderful husband and father.”
Sean Copeland, 51
Sean Copeland was from outside Austin, Texas, and was in Nice with his family to celebrate a birthday, local news station WFTV reported. His niece, Hayley Copeland, wrote on Facebook early Friday that he had died, along with his son Brodie.
“This is an extremely difficult time for my family,” she wrote. “Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable. Prayers are much appreciated.”
Timothé Fournier, 27
Timothé Fournier, a 27-year-old from Paris, died protecting his wife, who is seven months pregnant, Fournier’s cousin told Agence France-Presse. He pushed her out of the way just before the truck hit. “He was always there for his wife and unborn child,” his cousin said.
Francis and Christiane Locatelli, 82 and 78; Michael Pellegrini, 28; and Veronique Lion, 55
Economics professor Michael Pellegrini died in the attack along with his mother, Veronique Lion, and grandparents, Francis and Christiane Locatelli. The family members from Herserange, in northeast France, were on vacation together, according to The Guardian.
Robert Marchand, 60
Bilel Labbaoui and Mohammed Ben Abdelkader Toukabri
At least three Tunisians were killed in the attack, Tunisia’s ambassador to France, Mohamed Ali Chihi, told HuffPost Tunisia. He named Mohammed Ben Abdelkader Toukabri and Bilel Labbaoui. A third victim is unidentified.
Viktoria Savchenko, 20
Viktoria Savchenko, a Russian student, was killed in the attack in Nice, Reuters reported. The news organization learned of her death from the Academy of Finance in Moscow where Savchenko was studying.
The Moroccan consulate in Marseille told HuffPost Maghreb that at least two Morrocan nationals were among the dead ― a woman and a child.
The governments of Armenia and Ukraine also confirmed that one of their citizens was killed in the massacre, according to The Associated Press. The authorities did not provide additional details about the identities of the victims.
Two high school girls and a teacher from Berlin were reportedly killed while on a trip to Nice, according to The New York Times. Another girl was injured in the attack and taken to hospital.
Hours after the attack, information about those missing is slowly trickling in as family members and friends scour social media for word on their loved ones.
The hashtag #RechercheNice is being used to help locate the missing. A few Twitter accounts, like this one, have been aggregating and retweeting messages and photos from people searching for their friends and family.
“Has anyone seen my brother?” one person tweeted in desperation on Twitter. Another user asked for updates on an elderly couple.
“He’s on vacation in Nice and isn’t answering,” someone else tweeted.
Nick Leslie, a 20-year-old student from the University of California, Berkeley who was studying abroad in France, is reported to be missing.
According to local new outlet Nice-Matin, officials are also searching for 21-year-old Rickard Kruusberg and 22-year-old Hans Joosep Lahe of Estonia, as well as 22-year-old Misha Bazelevshy of Ukraine.
An Iranian journalist on holiday told The Guardian that a number of the victims were Muslim. “I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic,” Maryam Violet said. “One family lost a mother and in Arabic they were saying she’s a martyr.”
The AP said that more than 50 children have been admitted to the hospital.
A list of those missing is being circulated:
Charlotte Alfred, Willa Frej and Daniel Marans contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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