Seven killed, 23 wounded at motor race in Sri Lanka

Seven killed, 23 wounded at motor race in Sri Lanka

A festive atmosphere at a car racing event in Sri Lanka's Uva province took a tragic turn when a competing car veered off the track and crashed into spectators. The incident, which occurred at the central hill resort of Diyathalawa, resulted in seven fatalities, including an 8-year-old boy and four-track assistants, and left 23 others critically injured.

"In the accident, 23 people were critically injured and seven others were killed," said police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa, highlighting the severity of the incident.

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said that the deceased included an 8-year-old boy and four-track assistants among others. "A total of 23 more have been hospitalised," the police said.

The annual event, which marked the traditional New Year festivities, had previously been halted in 2019 following the Easter Sunday attack that claimed 270 lives in suicide bomb attacks. The resumption of the event this year coincided with the fifth anniversary of the attack, only to be marred by the tragic incident that claimed seven lives.

The crash occurred as a competing car in the racing event deviated from the track and collided with spectators, causing chaos and confusion among the attendees. Emergency services rushed to the scene to attend to the injured and transport them to nearby hospitals for treatment.


Authorities are expected to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash and take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

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 100,000 spectators were at the Fox Hill circuit, around 180 kilometres (112 miles) east of Colombo.


(With inputs from Agencies)