Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bastille Day Nice attack: Irish man 'in critical condition in hospital' as first photographs of victims emerge

* 84 dead after truck ploughed into crowds celebrating annual Bastille Day
* The dead include at least ten children
* A further 18 people in a critical condition
* Evacuation in progress at Nice airport due to a bag - reports
* French president Francois Hollande: 'France is in tears'
* Attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was a 31 year-old Franco-Tunisian born in Tunisia

Independent.ie Newsdesk and agencies

Published 14/07/2016 | 22:42

Sean Copeland (51) and his son Brodie (11), from Austin in Texas, were among the 84 people who were killed during the truck attack in Nice
Sean Copeland (51) and his son Brodie (11), from Austin in Texas, were among the 84 people who were killed during the truck attack in Nice
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
Ambulances line up near the scene of the attack. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
People cross the street with their hands on their heads as a French soldier secures the area after the terror attack. Reuters/Jean-Pierre Amet
Twitter feed video grab courtesy of @harp_detectives of people running away. Photo: @harp_detectives/PA Wire
French soldiers cordon off the area after a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers advance on the street after last night's terror attack. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard
French President Francois Hollande makes a televised address in Paris. (French Pool via AP)
Police officers seal off the area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
French soldiers stand guard by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Flags fly at half-mast to pay tribute to victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A man reacts by flowers left in tribute to the victims near the scene where a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, in Nice, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
People gather near flowers left in tribute to the victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, in Nice, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
People stand near a makeshift memorial for the victims killed in an attack where a truck mowed through revelers in Nice, southern France (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
A woman reacts by flowers left in tribute to the victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, in Nice, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
A life-size copy of renown Michelangelo Buonarroti's David is diplayed supine, as a tribute to the victims of Nice attack, after a ceremony at Repubblica square in Florence, Italy (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)
A woman sits next to a baby stroller as people gather on the Promenade des Anglais to pay tribute to the victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
People gather near flowers and candles left in tribute to victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more on the Promenade des Anglais who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, in Nice, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A life-size copy of renown Michelangelo Buonarroti's David is diplayed supine, as a tribute to the victims of Nice attack, during a ceremony at Repubblica square in Florence, Italy (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)
People stand in front of the Rome's city hall, "Campidoglio" (Capitoline Hill) lit up in blue, white and red, the colors of the French flag, in tribute to the attack victims of Nice, in Rome, Italy, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
People gather to leave flowers in tribute to victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more on the Promenade des Anglais who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
An Israel woman takes a picture of the Tel Aviv city hall as it is lit up in the colors of the French flag in tribute to the attack victims of Nice, in Tel Aviv, Israel July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Video grab shows ambulances and Police cars after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who had gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice. Photo: BFMTV via AP
Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters
People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area after the attack
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on Bastille Day. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
At least 60 people are feared dead after a van drove into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French resort of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A soldier stands guard near the site of an attack in the French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers speak with a soldier after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and firefighters arrive near the scene after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. . Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A vehicle of the Raid special intervention unit of the French police is seen near the site of the attack in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A helicopter flying near the scene after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers advance on the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

An Irish citizen is understood to be in a critical condition in hospital following the Bastille Day attacks in Nice, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said.

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Some 84 people, including at least ten children, are dead after the suspected terror attack on Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France.

A further 18 people are in a critical condition and French president Francois Hollande said the country's state of emergency would be extended for a another three months.

Speaking this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "While the position is not yet clear, it is understood an Irish man is critically injured in hospital."

Sean Copeland (51) and his son Brodie (11), from Austin in Texas, were among the 84 people who were killed during the truck attack in Nice
Sean Copeland (51) and his son Brodie (11), from Austin in Texas, were among the 84 people who were killed during the truck attack in Nice

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs also confirmed that they have concerns for the safety of one Irish person.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Embassy in France are following up on all concerns which have been expressed to them as to the welfare of Irish citizens who may have been in the Nice area yesterday evening," a spokesperson said.

"The Embassy is in ongoing contact with the French authorities."

"We have particular concerns for the welfare of one Irish citizen, which we are following up urgently," the department spokesperson added.

French soldiers advance on the street after the terror attack in Nice, France. Reuters/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers advance on the street after the terror attack in Nice, France. Reuters/Eric Gaillard
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice after the terror attack. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
People react after the tragedy. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after the terror attack. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice. AFP/Getty Images
A helicopter flies near the site of the attack in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP/Getty Images
A soldier stands guard near the site of the Nice attack. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd. AFP/Getty Images
A vehicle of the Raid special intervention unit of the French police is seen near the site of the attack. AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and firefighters arrive near the site of an attack on July 14, 2016, after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers speak with a soldier after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene of an attack on July 14, 2016, after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and rescued workers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

The Taoiseach's comment comes as photographs of the first victims of the atrocity emerge.

A father and son from the United States were the first victims of last night’s terror attack in Nice to be identified.

Sean Copeland (51) and his son Brodie (11), from Austin in Texas, were among the 84 people who were killed during the truck attack in Nice.

Their devastated relative Haley Copeland said: “By now many of you have heard about the [84] people that have died in Nice, France today from a terrorist attack driving through a parade.”

Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016.
AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van, with its windscreen riddled with bullets, that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

"Two of those 80 people were American and those two people happen to be uncle Sean and 11-year-old cousin Brodie.”

"They were there on vacation with my two other cousins and aunt celebrating a birthday."

"This is an extremely difficult time for my family and anyone who knows Sean and Brodie Copeland. Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable. Prayers are much appreciated. #CopelandFamily #nice."

The gunman responsible for the mass killing, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, was a 31 year-old Franco-Tunisian born in Tunisia, a police source close to the investigation said.

People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais July 15, 2016 after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
Police officers seal off the area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey)
French soldiers cordon the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Twitter feed video grab courtesy of @harp_detectives of people running away after dozens of people are believed to have been killed when a lorry ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice. @harp_detectives/PA Wire
Twitter feed video grab courtesy of @harp_detectives of people running away after dozens of people are believed to have been killed when a lorry ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice. @harp_detectives/PA Wire
A man sits next to a body seen on the ground July 15, 2016 after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers stand guard by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey)
French soldiers and rescue forces are seen at the scene whare at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers and police secure the area after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers advance on the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers secure the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers advance on the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The man was not on the watch list of French intelligence services, but was known to police in connection with common law crimes such as theft and violence, the source said.

A lorry hit crowds who had gathered to celebrate the French national day in the Mediterranean city on Thursday night.

This afternoon, an evacuation was in progress at Nice airport, according to reports.

Mr Hollande led a wave of tributes from world leaders saying: "France has been hit by a tragedy once again. This monstrosity of using a lorry to deliberately kill people, many people, who only came out to celebrate their national day.

"France is in tears. It is hurting but it is strong, and she will be strong, always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us."

He also said that a military operation was in place that would allow the mobilisation of 10,000 military officers and that police from across the country would be called to assist their colleagues in Nice.

The country borders will be tightened and would show "real force and military action in Syria and Iraq", Mr Hollande said.

 

Regional hospitals have been warned to expect an influx of the injured and the president urged citizens to be aware of security over the busy national holiday weekend.

In a press conference at the scene, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that the identification of the criminal was in progress, refusing to confirm reports that an ID card was found after police shot dead the lorry driver, and added that more information on the issue would come from the prosecutor's office.

"We are in a war with terrorists who want to strike us at any price and in a very violent way," the minister said.

French prosecutors earlier said they had launched a terrorism investigation after the lorry careered through the packed seafront for hundreds of yards as crowds watched fireworks.

Nice regional president Christian Estrosi said guns and grenades were found in the lorry, whose driver was shot dead by police.

The politician, who was at the celebration when the carnage happened, said: "This is the worst Nice drama of history.

"We are terrified and we want to present to all the families our sincere condolences.

Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Prette said bodies were strewn about along the road.

Mr Brandet said no hostages had been taken and the lorry driver had been "neutralised", adding that authorities were investigating if he acted alone.

Pictures and footage shown on social media showed crowds fleeing in terror from the scene on the Promenade des Anglais, which was busy with revellers celebrating and watching fireworks.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunshots and pictures on social media showed armed police with weapons trained on a badly damaged white lorry with bullet holes in the windscreen.

France is still on alert after the Paris terror attacks on November 13, in which 130 people were killed at sites including the Bataclan Theatre and Stade de France.

The state of emergency initiated after those attacks which has now been extended was due to be lifted later this month.

Lawyer Harjit Sarang was among those caught up in the terror with her children.

The Londoner tweeted: "Running through crowds in Nice with kids and terrified. Never taking kids to a public event again. Finally back to hotel. Hate this!"

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are deeply concerned about reports of an incident in Nice and are in touch with the local authorities to seek more information.

"Our thoughts are with those affected and we stand by to help any British nationals."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is being kept updated on reports coming in from Nice.

"We are shocked and concerned by the scenes there. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.

"The FCO are in touch with the local authorities to seek more information and we stand ready to help any British nationals and to support our French partners."

New Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted that he was "shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life".

A Rihanna concert scheduled for Friday night at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice has been cancelled, as have the city's jazz festival which was due to run from Saturday to Wednesday and some of the Bastille celebrations over the weekend.

Reuters

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