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Race car in Sri Lanka veers off track killing 7 people and injuring 20, officials say

People attend to the injured after a racing car crashed into the spectators during the Fox Hill Supercross, a motor racing event organized by the Sri Lanka's army, in Diyatalawa, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/STR)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A race car veered off the track during a competition in Sri Lanka on Sunday and rammed into a crowd of spectators and race officials, killing seven people and injuring 20 others, officials 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 kilometers (110 miles) east of the capital Colombo.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the mishap.

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.

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.