A car ploughed into the crowd watching the Queen’s day parade in Apeldoorn. Two spectators were killed and 12 injured, some of them seriously.
Reporters on the spot say the car drove at high speed, hitting a number of people that were thrown into the air. The black Suzuki Swift crashed into a monument for Queen Wilhelmina. The driver was taken out of the car in a serious condition. Emergency services are rushing to the spot to provide aid to the victims.
More EN reporting at DutchNews.nl. Footage from another angle from Sky News. All festivities in Apeldoorn have been cancelled. Elsewhere festivities are also on the proces of shutting down. One delinquent moron, it takes just one delinquent moron to shut down what is arguably the best party of the year in the Netherlands.
Reports say the driver of the car was a Caucasian male in his mid-twenties (photo). According to GeenStijl (NL) he was turned away in a first attempt to pas the barricades. There are also rumours a passenger jumped from the car just prior to the crash. The number of injured is still sketchy. Most reports mention 12 injured, but Omroep Gelderland (NL) reports 21 injured.
The main unanswered question: Was it a terrorist attack? Reports are conflicting. Some eyewitnesses say the driver was already hurt or incapacitated, slumped in his seat at the time of the crash. Others maintain the Swift was deliberately aiming for the touring car transporting the royal family.
De Telegraaf (NL) reports that according to the police the driver was hurt in the crash, but was taken into custody and to a police station for interrogation. The probability of this being an accident are slim, says De Telegraaf (NL): The royal family and their entourage were twenty minutes late, but the driver of the black Suzuki Swift managed to ram through the barricades (two of them!) just as the touring car transporting the royal family passed the intersection.
Speculations abound as to whether the crash was deliberate, and if so: what the pretext of it is. Whatever it was, this moron has in all probability ruined Queensday for years to come and maybe even forever. One wishes we still had the possibility of eternal exile for pond scum like this.
[UPDATE 1521] More photos of the culprit here. One hopes his agony is sublime…
[UPDATE 1532] State broadcaster NOS also reports 21 injured.
[UPDATE 1611] Press conference by the Apeldoorn authorities: The number of injured is 17, with 4 dead. Eight of the injured are in critical condition. The incident was ‘a deliberate act, but not a terrorist one’. The culprit is a 38 year old Dutchman without a criminal record and no prior records of mental instability. In contradiction to earlier reports, authorities say he was taken to hospital with severe injuries and was still being operated on at the time of the press conference. Police still do not know the reasons for this ‘deliberate act’. EN report here.
[UPDATE 2055] The culprit has a name: Karst Tates, a recently layed-off ex-employee of a private security firm. He lived alone in an apartment in Huissen. Neighbours describe him as a normal, if somewhat private, person. In the few moments of consciousness right after the crash he has stated he was making an attempt at the royal family.
The public prosecutor has formally charged Tates with manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and attempted murder of members of the royal family (the latter being a separate category from ‘civilian’ attempted murder). Tates is in hospital in a life-threatening condition. There are rumours he is already brain-dead and may pass on before the day is out. Which would mean that we may never find out what the hell this character was thinking (Minor update: Elsevier (NL) thinks this was ‘suicide by cop’).
In the mean time some media report a fifth dead. The authorities won’t release the name, but the hospital stated it is not Tates. If you are so inclined, save a prayer for the families and friends of the victims of this senseless act.
And so ends a day that had the makings of a legendary Queens day. But for one insane act of… who knows? Thousands of volunteers saw their many, many hours of preparation and rehearsals come to naught. For them it must be as close to the Grinch stealing Christmas as one can get in real life.
[FINAL UPDATE] The bastard croaked (NL):
The 38-year old Tates from Huissen passed away in the hospital tonight at 02.58.
Which makes the total deaths 6 with 11 injured. And now we’ll probably never now why this character did what he did.