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Dozens Feared Dead After Truck Drives Through Crowd In Nice, France


There has been a devastating crash in Southern France. In the city of Nice, a truck plowed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. Regional officials say at least 30 people have died, and a hundred more are injured. They're asking people to stay at home for the moment. We're joined by Greg Viscusi, a reporter for Bloomberg. Hello there.

GREG VISCUSI: Hello. How're you doing?

SHAPIRO: Fine. We know that you are in Paris, not Nice, but tell us your understanding of what has happened.

VISCUSI: Oh that a truck ran into a crowd this evening. And it was a very crowded crowd because as you know on Bastille Day, there are fireworks all across the country. So the waterfront of Nice is a very popular place to watch the fireworks over the bay. Apparently the truck ran for several hundred meters through the crowd. The driver was killed by police. At least 30 people are dead. That really is at least 'cause I have a feeling that number is going to go up just given how long the truck ran through the crowd for.

That's all we know at this point. The police are refusing at this point to call it a terrorist attack, saying that it's - they're calling it a criminal incident but not a terrorist attack yet. And we're just waiting for more details to come through.

SHAPIRO: Are police saying anything about who the driver might have been and what might have led...

VISCUSI: No, absolutely not.

SHAPIRO: ...Them to do this?

VISCUSI: No, absolutely not.

SHAPIRO: What are French leaders saying or doing at this moment?

VISCUSI: No one has said anything because it's just happened. But President Francois Hollande was actually - was in the south of France for a cultural festival, has flown back to Paris. And there's going to be a meeting. There's going to be a crisis meeting of the inter-cabinet this evening.

SHAPIRO: Obviously this comes after a devastating terrorist attack in Paris not long ago. How has security changed in the months since that?

VISCUSI: Oh, quite a lot. I mean, France is still officially under emergency. Emergency law was due to expire on July 26, but there's been a huge number of - whenever you go anywhere in Paris, there's a huge number of both police and soldiers on the street, sometimes just patrolling, sometimes guarding key installations. So there has been a major increase in security. But obviously they can't be everywhere and everywhere at all time.

SHAPIRO: I understand local news in Paris has been full of images, both graphic scenes of bodies in the street and also people fleeing the scene of this incident. Can you describe what it's like there?

VISCUSI: Well, right now the police are asking people not to stay on the street. They're asking people to get off the street so that the emergency vehicles can get in and treat the wounded of which there's quite a few. They've also asked people not to use their cell phones because the system is apparently crashing down there.

There's footage of just sort of shocked crowds kind of sort of trying to get away from the area, people, you know, obviously in - completely in tears as to what they saw. But it seems that the police have largely cleared the waterfront area, and there's just a huge number of emergency vehicles in there right now trying to deal with the wounded.

SHAPIRO: That's Greg Viscusi, a reporter for Bloomberg in Paris on news of devastating crash that may have left dozens or more people dead in the city of Nice in Southern France on Bastille Day. Thanks very much for joining us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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