31 May 2014
Last updated at 23:34
The event was cancelled with immediate effect after a second, fatal collision with spectators, police say
Three people have been killed in a collision between a vehicle and spectators at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders, police say.
The incident occurred at about 16:00 BST when a car taking part in the motor racing event came off the road.
A fourth person was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and is reported to be in a critical condition.
Another collision at the event, two hours previously, left five people injured, one of them seriously.
Police Scotland said the rally had been cancelled with immediate effect after the second incident, which took place at Little Swinton, near Coldstream. It said investigations into both incidents were “ongoing”.
In a statement, the organisers of the rally said they were “devastated” that three people had been killed while watching the event – the 44th running of the Jim Clark Rally.
“Berwick and District Motor Club, Border Ecosse Car Club and the governing body, the Motor Sports Association (MSA), are co-operating fully with the police investigation,” the statement read.
“As with any serious incident on a motor sport event, the MSA will conduct its own thorough inquiry once the police investigation is concluded.”
The incident happened during a special stage 16 and the remaining two stages of the rally were immediately abandoned, the organisers said.
Police Scotland said three people were pronounced dead at the scene of the incident
Police said an investigation into both collisions was under way
Laura Bicker, BBC Scotland correspondent, said witnesses had since raised questions about areas of the course that spectators had been watching from.
“Clearly that is something the organisers will be looking at and something the police will be investigating as part of their inquiries,” she said.
One eyewitness, Tony Cowan, said: “It was just one car which lost control. It went sideways one way and then to the other side of the road and ploughed into four people.
“It was terrible, absolutely terrible. I ran to help but there was little I could do. The air ambulance arrived after about three quarters of an hour. There were police cars and ambulances. It was chaos, just chaos.”
Another eyewitness wrote on Facebook: “Huge accident at rally. Not far from us. About 15 emergency vehicles here now and about 40 people stood working on the injured. Not good.”
The annual rally takes place over three days on closed roads in the Duns and Kelso areas of the Borders.
It is held in honour of the Scottish former Formula 1 champion, Jim Clark, who died in a motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany in 1968.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said the tragedy was “desperately sad and difficult news”.
“The government is in contact with Police Scotland and we await the outcome of their inquiries,” he said.
“The Jim Clark Rally is a long-standing event of over 40 years. It is much loved in the Borders and by the rally driving community who I know will share in our sadness at what is a black day for the Borders and for Scotland.”
John Lamont, a local MSP, said his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”.
“I know that the rally organisers place considerable emphasis on the safety of the spectators and drivers but, with any event of this nature, there will always be an element of risk,” he said.
“I live just a few miles away from the scene of the accident and I know that everyone is shocked and saddened by this dreadful news.”
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