Updated: July 15, 2016 9:35 AM ET | Originally published: July 14, 2016 8:43 PM EDT

“It felt like a war scene,” says French photographer Antoine Chauvel. “It was horrible.”

“It” started during the Bastille Day celebrations on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the Mediterranean seafront and is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.

“My wife and one of my sons had gone to see the fireworks on the Neptune Beach across from the hotel Le Negresco,” says Chauvel. “When the show was over, she heard people screaming. People were running everywhere. She crossed the street and just a few seconds later, the truck was driving where she had been.”

At the time of publication, French officials said 77 people were killed after a large truck plowed into a crowd of people, for what some reports say was a mile or longer.

Once Chauvel’s wife and son made their way back to their apartment, he picked up his camera and walked towards the beach.

“It was horrific,” he says. “There were bodies lying on the road. Some people were trying to save their friends’ lives, screaming for an ambulance, for the cops. The more I walked towards Place Masséna [200 yards away from the Negresco], the more bodies there were.”

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