A four-year-old girl is dead after a tragic incident at a Santa Claus parade in Yarmouth, NJ, police said on Saturday when a witness described a scene of terror that shook the feast of small port towns.
The girl, who was not publicly known, was walking along a floating parade on one of the city's main thoroughfares when she fell under it just before 7am. local time, police said.
She had entered the local paramedical hospital, but shortly after, she was declared dead.
Corporal. Dal Hutchinson, a public information officer with the RCCA in Nova Scotia, describes the event as "very, very tragic – and also very traumatic for everyone there.
"My understanding is that there is a large group of people there – families – who watch the Santa Claus parade when this incident happens," Hutchinson said in an interview Saturday night.
He added that anyone who may have witnessed the incident should talk about it with other people and seek support to cope with the trauma.
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"Our thoughts are in the family of this little girl in this very, very difficult time."
Vance Webb, a retired engineer who lives on the outskirts of Yarmouth, attends a Saturday parade with his wife, son and three grandchildren.
"We just watched the parade and then about 30 feet, I hear – the float suddenly stops and I see something on the ground," Webb said in a telephone interview.
"Then suddenly we heard screaming, it was pretty close to us."
Webb said the whole scene has become "chaos" as people realize what has happened.
"People 50 feet away – none of us are all right, all adults were crying, everywhere I saw hundreds of people weeping," Webb said.
"This will really affect the city.
The organizers of the parade did not respond immediately to comments on Saturday night.