MEXICO CITY -- Several thousand people had gathered at an outdoor arena in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua for the third annual “Extreme Aero Show.”
Although much of the action was overhead, festivities also included a display by so-called monster trucks. As one such lumbering vehicle heaved itself over a mound of wrecked cars toward the audience, the driver apparently lost control, and the truck, with its six-foot tires, plowed into horrified spectators.
At least eight people were killed during the show on Saturday, authorities said Sunday, and more than 70 injured. Four of the dead were children, according to a list of victims issued by the city. Hospitals put out urgent calls for blood donations; nearly 40 people were still being treated for injuries Sunday. Of those, eight were said to be critically injured.
The show was organized by Chihuahua officials for the third year in a row and was vigorously promoted by the city. It was a big family draw, and the crowd was estimated at about 4,000 people.
The driver of the truck was detained on suspicion of negligent homicide, Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said in a telephone interview. “So far, the inspection indicates there was a mechanical failure, but we are investigating everything,” Gonzalez said. Chihuahua is the capital of the border state by the same name, and the state will assume the investigation of the accident.
Amateur video of the incident, above, shows the truck making a successful hurtle over the car heap and toward the center of the outdoor arena. It turns around and jumps in the opposite direction toward where spectators seemed to be watching from only a few feet away. There does not appear to be a barricade between them and the truck.
The truck comes down hard on that second pass and bounces. There were reports that the driver might have been injured or stunned in that landing.
The truck then plows into the crowd. Witnesses told reporters that it crushed several people immediately. Panic followed as people fled in all directions attempting to escape or find relatives.
“This terrible tragedy … has left all of us deeply troubled,” Chihuahua Gov. Javier Duarte said via his Twitter account.
The rest of the three-day show, which was supposed to conclude Sunday, was canceled.
Cecilia Sanchez in the Times' Mexico City bureau contributed to this report.