6 dead after truck hits community barbecue in the Netherlands, police say

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Six people were killed and seven others were hospitalized after a truck drove off a dike and crashed into a community barbecue in the Netherlands, authorities said.

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Three men and three women were killed, ranging in age from 28 to 75, police told The Associated Press. One of the injured victims was in critical condition.

Police spokesperson Mirjam Boers said the truck driver, a 46-year-old Spanish man, is suspected of causing the accident that happened early Saturday evening in the village of Nieuw-Beijerland, located south of Rotterdam. His identity was not released, in line with The Netherlands’ privacy laws.

The large truck left a small rural road and hurtled down the bank of the dike, running into the village gathering, according to the AP.

“You can imagine how awful it is, during a neighborhood party a truck drives into this group of people, the shock is enormous,” a police spokesperson on the scene told the Omroep Rijnmond radio station.

Boers said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

“We are investigating what could have happened,” Boers said.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said in a tweet that the accident caused “an unimaginable sadness in this close-knit community.”

“The affected families are in our thoughts and we wish the injured strength on their way to as good a recovery as possible,” they tweeted.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted, “My thoughts go out to the victims and next of kin of this terrible drama. I wish them much strength.”

Local Mayor Charlie Aptroot visited the scene Saturday night, according to the AP.

“My condolences go out to the victims, their families, eyewitnesses and first responders,” Aptroot said in a statement.