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Chaos and injuries at Norfolk flower show as car ploughs through marquee

PUBLISHED: 16:05 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:50 17 July 2018

The scene of the incident. PHOTO: Estelle Furnell

The scene of the incident. PHOTO: Estelle Furnell

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A genteel Norfolk flower show erupted into chaos when a car ploughed through a marquee, injuring stallholders who feared it was a terrorist attack.

Onlookers watched in shock as the Toyota RAV4 crashed through the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival on Saturday, hurtling through the tent before colliding into a stage.

The shock was intensified by the discovery of a handwritten, paper note stuck on the dashboard of the car with instructions on how to drive.

Flower show secretary Dr Diana Black said: “It was like a terrorist incident. It was absolutely terrible.

“It was an accident, but when I saw that note I was in disbelief and started to feel angry - if you need instructions you shouldn’t be driving.”

The handwritten note found in the car which ploughed through a marquee at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Picture: Tony RoutThe handwritten note found in the car which ploughed through a marquee at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Picture: Tony Rout

Dr Black, 53, from Great Massingham, said the note included instructions such as “key in, ignition on, foot on brake, start engine”.

She said the elderly female driver was shaken and apologetic.

“There could’ve been fatalities or serious injuries but miraculously there wasn’t,” Dr Black added.

Annette Lowe, 50, who had been in the tent, said: “We heard an almighty bang, I turned around and saw this car going through the stage, I just looked on in utter bewilderment.

Scenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle FurnellScenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle Furnell

“Although the car was going fast, everything else felt like it was moving in slow motion.”

The incident happened at around 11.30am at the playing fields in Creake Road. Around 30 people were setting up the show at the time and around a dozen people were in the tent.

Dr Black said the paramedics arrived shortly after the crash and treated Laurence Rubin, treasurer of the show, who had been knocked over by the car.

But she said only a few people sustained minor injuries, for which she had assisted the ambulance, and that the show went on as normal.

Scenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle FurnellScenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle Furnell

“We asked people to come and help and this terrible thing put them at risk,” Dr Black added.

Norfolk police attended the scene and carried out a traffic collision report.

Insp Lou Provart said no arrests were made in relation to the incident, describing the event as “an unfortunate, unintended acceleration.”

He said an armed response vehicle attended the scene but was acting in a traffic capacity.

Scenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle FurnellScenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle Furnell

Scenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle FurnellScenes following the crash at the Burnhams Flower Show and Carnival. Photo: Estelle Furnell

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