Eight people were reportedly killed Saturday when an apparently uncontrolled monster truck hit a crowd of spectators, crushing some and sending bodies flying, during an air show in Chihuahua state, Mexico. Officials say that at least 80 were injured during the accident as well and casualties may even be higher as authorities and hospital officials update reports on the tragic incident.
The Associated Press and Canadian Press reported (via Yahoo News Canada) Oct. 6 that the monster truck was attempting to leap over a pile of vehicles when the driver reportedly hit his head as he bounced inside of his truck. Eyewitnesses also related that the driver lost his helmet. Within seconds the monster truck hit the crowd of spectators lined up to watch the event at the "Extreme Aeroshow."
In a video provided to the Associated Press, the monster truck appeared to hit sharply on its front end before landing on all four wheels and heading into the crowd. With no protective barrier, people fled before the runaway truck. Unfortunately, for dozens of people there wasn't time to escape the rampaging vehicle before it was upon them.
One man, 41-year-old Jesus Manuel Ibarra, described the incident: "I fell over, and when I turned around I saw the tire very close. It hit me and threw me to the other side." Ibarra was treated for injuries to his arm and hip.
According to NBC News, Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte Juarez said that a test performed after the accident indicated that the driver had tested positive for alcohol. However, whether or not the driver was inebriated or had consumed an illegal amount of alcohol was not disclosed.
Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutors' office, said driver Francisco Velazquez seemed to lose control of his vehicle and investigators were looking into the possibility that Velazquez was unable to release the gas pedal due to a mechanical failure.
But it is eyewitness accounts that seem to contradict some type of mechanical failure.
Spectator Daniel Dominguez described what he saw: “The driver hit his head and his helmet flew off. The truck came directly at where we were.”
Dominguez' 11-year-old sister underwent surgery on her legs and his mother was treated for minor injuries following the incident.
The "Extreme Aeroshow," a three-day event in Chihuahua, the capital of the state of Chihuahua, was canceled after the monster truck hit the crowd.