A monster truck accident in the Netherlands has killed at least three people and injured 15 more. The incident took place on Sunday, after the driver lost control of his vehicle and tore through a crowd of people who were watching in the audience.
The driver in the truck, 51-year-old Fernando Velazquez, had just performed what was said to a routine trick, in which he drove over several parked cars with the goal of landing seamlessly on the ground without causing any damage to any of the vehicles involved. The trick took a disastrous turn while the monster truck was airborne, however, with the vehicle veering off course and smashing through a guard rail that held dozens of spectators behind it. The mayor of the town in which the accident took place has since confirmed to the media that the death toll is correct, going on to reveal that one of the individuals who lost their lives was a child, although he did not say how old.
An organizer for the monster truck event gave the statement to local news that he was of the opinion the accident was due to one of two things:either the brakes failed, or the gas pedal became stuck and did not allow for the driver to rectify the situation before it was too late. The driver is being questioned by authorities in order to better figure out exactly what happened, but there has yet to be any new developments in the matter.
This is not the first time in recent history in which a monster truck event has failed to go as planned and ended in a mass catastrophe. In October of last year eight people were killed and dozens of others injured when a show in Chihuahua, Mexico, took a fatal turn. The incident took place in the same matter as Sunday’s disaster in the Netherlands, with the driver of the monster truck in question failing to complete the air trick of soaring over several other vehicles.
In the incident occurring in the Netherlands there were no walls or barriers in place to protect the audience, which led to the vehicle crashing headlong into spectators and providing them no possible means of protection.Witness statements indicated that the driver may have hit his head after losing his helmet. Event organizers said hundreds of people had gathered in an unofficial pit area without permission, the location where the accident occurred. Veteran truck show organizers said that spectators should not have been allowed to stand so close to the action without a safety zone protecting them.
Velazquez was subsequently charged with the manslaughter, despite giving the defense that he was knocked unconscious in the moments before the accident. Approximately 80 individuals were taken to hospital following the incident. The governor of Chihuahua, César Horacio Duarte Jáquez, declared that the city must participate in three days of mourning in order to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the tragedy. No other arrests have been made. The three-day show was cancelled after the accident.
By Rebecca Grace