Seven dead in Netherlands as truck crashes into community barbecue

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By Euronews  with AP
Emergency services operate at the scene of an accident after a lorry drove off a dike into a neighborhood party, 27 August 2022
Emergency services operate at the scene of an accident after a lorry drove off a dike into a neighborhood party, 27 August 2022   -   Copyright  AFP

At least seven people were killed and seven more wounded in the Netherlands when a truck drove off a dike and slammed into a community barbecue. 

It happened on Saturday evening in the village of Nieuw-Beijerlanda south of Rotterdam, when police say a large truck left a small rural road and careered down the bank of the dike, and ploughed into the village gathering. 

Six people were initially confirmed dead before authorities confirmed on Wednesday that an unborn child was also killed.

The exact cause of the crash is now under investigation, but police spokesperson Mirjam Boers said the truck driver was a 46-year-old Spanish man, and that he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. 

“For the time being, we are keeping all scenarios about the facts open,” the police said in a statement.

Photos of the scene showed bunting hanging between trees and chairs scattered around trestle tables and police worked into the night around the truck before a crane and a tow truck hauled it back onto the road.

Local Mayor Charlie Aptroot visited the scene Saturday night.

“My condolences go out to the victims, their families, eyewitnesses and first responders," he said in a statement.

He added that he had spoken to many of the people at the scene and expressed "appreciation for the way in which people are there for each other.”

“The loss is immeasurable and the grief immense,” he added in a statement. “In consultation with the relatives, we have decided from now on to talk about seven deaths, including one unborn child.”