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Truck Plows Through Bastille Day Crowd In France, Dozens Dead

By Farida Fawzy

NICE, France, (CNN) -- **UPDATE** Two Americans have been killed in a terror attack in the French city of Nice, the Austin American-Statesman reported Friday.

It named the victims as Sean Copeland, 51, and his son, Brodie, 11, from Texas, citing a statement from the family. U.S. officials confirmed that two Americans were killed in the attack, but did not name them.


Chaos broke out in Nice, France, after a truck plowed through the Bastille Day crowd on Thursday.

Scrambling for safety, the crowd dispersed and took cover in nearby restaurants and hotels. Here are accounts from some of those witnesses:

Deliberate attack

As the white tractor-trailer drove into the crowd it was "mowing bodies over," said an American witness standing 15 feet away from the scene.

It was accelerating as it hit the bodies.

"It seemed like an accident at first, but became apparent very quickly that it was deliberate," he told CNN.

The witness said he only got a glimpse of one person, the driver, in the cab of the truck.

Another witness saw the scene from his balcony, which overlooked the beach. His 14-year-old son was with him.

"Outside of my window now I see at least 10 covered bodies," said Tony Molina, who was on vacation from California. He felt helpless as he saw the truck driving about 30-35 mph, plowing through the crowd.

Gunshots and shrieking

An American witness at the scene said that as he ran away, he heard gunfire, but it wasn't clear to him if the gunfire was coming from the truck or elsewhere.

CNN's Becky Anderson reported that police opened fire on the truck trying to stop it in its tracks, according to French radio stations. Whether the gunshots heard were an exchange or one-way is unclear.

Molina, who witnessed the scene from his balcony, said he heard the gunfire coming from the east before the truck reached his hotel.

People were shrieking and running frantically among the bodies and debris, Molina said.

Bodies, bicycles, debris

Hundreds took shelter at a nearby restaurant when the truck began to run into the crowd.

"We were eating and a huge crowd ran into us and we didn't know what was going on," said Maryam Violet.

"I walked to the beginning and saw a lot of people around their families -- a lot of single dead bodies with no one around them," Violet said.

Eric Dartell also took shelter at the restaurant. He described the debris on the street outside.

"You can see wreckage all along the way, a body, bicycles, street lamps and debris everywhere."

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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