Dutch Queen Beatrix's birthday visit to the Dutch town of Apeldoorn ended in deep tragedy, with 7 people killed and 10 injured by a high-speed car which had crashed through two barricades, heading for the royal bus. The driver died in hospital Friday.
The latest fatality announced today was 55-year-old Roel Nijenhuis, a chauffeur for the Dutch Royal Constabulary. He became the seventh victim of the murderous assault on the bus carrying Dutch Queen Beatrix and many members of her family. Nijenhuis died of his injuries in hospital on Friday-afternoon. Two people, a man and a woman, are still in 'critical condition' in hospital.
Attacker was a security guard at a mail-order company
More details have emerged about the dead driver of the assault car, identified only as Karst L,who died very early on Friday-morning in hospital. While being pried from the car, he admitted that his act, in which he mowed down 17 people, was a deliberate attack on the Dutch royal family.He worked for a mail-order company as a security guard, but was retrenched several months ago. He was described as a 'loner', an unmarried man without many social contacts', who also maintained very few ties with his family.
The Ministry of Defence announced Mr Nijenhuis' death on Friday-afternoon. Eight injured people are still in hospital. said Mayor of Apeldoorn Fred de Graaf earlier today -- amongst them also are a man and a woman who are in 'critical condition', while the others are 'out of danger'.
The late Mr Nijenhaus worked as a chauffeur at the transport section of the Dutch Royal Constabulary's National Training- and Information centre in Apeldoorn.see
The Dutch government news service, NOS, early reported early on Friday-morning that Karst T., 38, (surname not revealed), an unemployed security guard of the town of Huissen died of his severe injuries overnight. seeQueen to attend memorial service
The Netherlands has been plunged in mourning, with city halls countrywide opening condolance registers.
On Friday-night at Apeldoorn's major church, the "Groote Kerk", a memorial service will be held -- also attended by the Queen and her family -- to commemorate the victims of yesterday's attempted attack against the Dutch royal family.
Yesterday, the Dutch public prosecutor still announced at 16:30 that the driver of the car would be charged with 'a deliberate attack against members of the Royal family.. This morning, authorities said they might never know his exact motives for the attack after his death in hospital.
Security experts said that judging from the direct route the man took, and the fact that he crashed through two barriers, running down many victims enroute, including three children and two policemen - heading straight for the royal bus, is 'a clear indication that this was an attack on the royal family.' (view the video above for a view of the royal family and the way the car headed straight for their bus).
Police said that the (self-admitted) attacker of the Dutch royal family had told the police who rushed to his car after it crashed against a monument, that he told them he 'had taken an intentional action'. This was said by the Netherlands' chief of detective services L Goossens in a press conference just hours after the incident.
"From our first investigation, there is no link with any terrorism, no explosive traces were found,' said Goossen. The Dutch news media grilled the police at the press conference at 15:30 and discovered that the same car had crashed his way through two police barriers and headed straight for the royal bus. It is however surmised by security experts interviewed on TV that the steering had been damaged in the first barrier-crash, thus the driver had been unable to continue towards the bus, crashing into the monument in front of the palace instead. Two of the thirteen injured people are police officers. One is 'seriously injured,' said Goossens.By 16.30, all the public buildings carried their flags at half-mast.
Queen 'shocked, speechless'...
A clearly shocked and traumatised Queen Beatrix said on TV just hours after the incident that what 'had started as a beautiful day ended in a terrible tragedy which has shocked all of us deeply. We are speechless that something like this could have happened. My family is deeply saddened and grieves for all the people who have been involved in this tragedy.'
Most of the countrywide celebrations were cancelled. Queen Beatrix and the entire Dutch royal family - crown prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima amongst them - were travelling in an open-topped bus in the centre of Apeldoorn at ten minutes to twelve, , where day-long celebratory events were being planned for the royals to celebrate the Queen's official birthday. The Queen usually visits several towns in The Netherlands on her official birthday, and it's always a massive celebration each year, with all the cities and towns showing a sea of orange.
There were some 200,000 people in Apeldoorn to see the Royals. The Royal Family 's open-deck bus was travelling through the centre of town when it was targetted by the high-speed black Suzuki Swift car which came crashing through the crowd and the barricades, barely missing a cop on a bicycle. It drove right through the crowd and through a large number of photographers before it hid 'the Needle', a 1901 monument which is located right in front of the Queen's royal palace "Het Loo'. Many witnesses who were interviewed on TV were deeply upset and told news reporters that they 'were convinced that the car tried to crash into the Queen's bus.'
The royal family was very close to the scene and seated high in the bus, and thus had an excellent view of the terrible scene. They watched in shock as they saw victims hurling through the air, with some being dragged by the high speed car before it crashed into the Needle monument. The royals all could be seen to stand up briefly and reacting in horror, as can be seen on the video. The royal bus then speeded up and immediately left the street, and turned into the driveway leading to the Loo Royal Palalace situated just behind the monument. Several princesses reportedly burst into tears.
Today, Apeldoorn residents are showing up opposite the accident scene, placing candles and flowers, and leaving messages of condolance. The day before, the town was crowded with some 200,000 visitors sporting flags and orange bunting -- celebrants from other provinces to see the Queen and the rest of the royal family. Today, people were signing concolance registers in the local city hall.
It's been a Dutch tradition since Beatrix ascended the throne on April 30 1980 that she always several towns on her 'official birthday' each year, where local citizens lay on entertainments for the entire royal family.
However this year for the first time, the Queen had already changed this routine by visiting only one town -- leaving to some speculation in the news media that she may announce her abdication in favour of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander soon.
Here in my town of Dokkum in Friesland, where the annual festivities started at 10am with the singing of the National Anthem in front of the city hall with the local mayor, the children and adults were clearly upset after the heard was broadcast, although the planned music festival last night continued, the cheerful atmosphere of the Queen's birthday celebrations yesterday has been replaced by a deeply somber mood..