Seven killed as race car veers off track in Sri Lanka

People gather around a car that had crashed into the spectators during the Fox Hill Supercross, a motor racing event organized by Sri Lanka's army. (Photo/AP)

A race car veered off the track during a competition in Sri Lanka and rammed into a crowd of spectators and race officials, killing seven people and injuring 20 others, officials have said.

Thousands of spectators looked on as the mishap took place during a race in the town of Diyatalawa in the tea-growing central hills, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) east of the capital Colombo on Sunday.

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said one of the cars veered off the track and crashed into spectators and officials of the event.

Seven people, including four officials, were killed and another 20 were being treated at a hospital, said Thalduwa. He said three of the injured were in critical condition.

Thalduwa said police have launched an investigation into the accident, which was the 17th out of 24 events scheduled. The race was suspended after the accident.

Dangerous roads

About 45,000 spectators had gathered at the race circuit at a Sri Lankan military academy.

The event was organized by the Sri Lankan army and Sri Lanka Automobile Sports.

Shortly before the crash, army chief Vikum Liyanage announced that the gates had been opened to spectators free of charge to promote motorsports, with the event being held for the first time in five years due to the Covid pandemic and the island's economic crisis.

"Today is a very special day... we decided to allow anyone to come in free," Liyanage said, claiming that about 1 00,000 spectators were at the Fox Hill circuit, around 180 kilometres (112 miles) east of Colombo.

Sri Lanka's roads are among the most dangerous in the world. On average, eight fatalities are reported daily along the 12,500 kilometres (7,812 miles) of roads.


Source: TRT