"A very tragic incident, very traumatic for everyone who was involved with the parade and at the scene," said Cpl. Dal Hutchinson, of the Nova Scotia RCMP.
"My understanding is there were a lot of people nearby when this took place. So our thoughts right now are with this little girl's family, as it's a very difficult time, but also with the community, with people that were there watching the parade."
As the 2018 Santa Parade of Lights weaved its way down to Victoria Park, parade participants doled out candy and offered warm wishes to onlookers.
The incident happened just before 7 p.m. near the intersection of Main Street and Starrs Road in Yarmouth, about an hour after the Yarmouth Christmas Parade of Lights began.
"She was not on the float. She was running alongside of the moving float when she fell underneath the float," Hutchinson said.
Vance Webb, a retired machinist who lives on the outskirts of Yarmouth, attended Saturday's parade with his wife, stepson and three grandchildren.
"We were just watching the parade, and then about 30 feet away, I hear — all of a sudden, the float stops, and I kinda see something on the ground," Webb told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.
"People within 50 feet of it — none of us are OK. All the adults were crying. Everywhere I saw, there were hundreds of people crying," said Webb. "This is really gonna affect the town."
The girl was treated at the scene immediately by RCMP officers and Emergency Health Services. She was taken to Yarmouth Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
"So right now, this entire community is mourning [and] very concerned for the family, the first responders, anybody involved in that. The community is just spending our time comforting each other and making sure everybody is OK."
Sean Mills, a father and fisherman from Yarmouth, started a fundraising campaign to go toward funeral costs.
"It's just a tragedy, it's an accident and it's terrible. We all have kids and this could have been any one of our kids, we were all at the parade last night," Mill said.
Mills said he knows money won't make the family feel better, but said it will alleviate the financial burden.
"I have a child around the same age and it's terrible news, there's no good at all in it," he said.
"I think the whole community in general feels the exact same way, they know it's terrible. It's supposed to be a good time of year and a tragedy happens and it just completely turns around."
Hutchinson said he knew there were many people who witnessed the incident and suggested that people may want to reach out for help, including first responders, who will be offered assistance if they ask for it.
"If you're struggling with what you witnessed, it's very important to talk about it and seek some help to deal with those emotions," he said.
A grief reduction specialist will be at Yarmouth's Rodd Grand hotel at 6:30 p.m. Sunday for anyone who needs to talk about this tragedy.
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YARMOUTH, N.S. — A four-year-old girl is dead after a tragic accident at a Santa Claus parade in Yarmouth, N.S., police said Saturday, as a witness described a scene of terror that shattered the small port towns holiday celebration.
The girl, who has not been publicly identified, was running along a passing parade float on one of the towns main thoroughfares when she fell underneath it just before 7 p.m. local time, police said.
Cpl. Dal Hutchinson, a public information officer with the Nova Scotia RCMP, described the event as "very, very tragic — and also very traumatic for everyone there.
"My understanding is there was a large group of people there — families — watching the Santa Claus parade when this incident took place," Hutchinson said in an interview Saturday night.
He added that anyone who may have witnessed the incident should talk about it with others and seek support to deal with the trauma.
Vance Webb, a retired machinist who lives on the outskirts of Yarmouth, attended Saturdays parade with his wife, stepson and three grandchildren.
"We were just watching the parade, and then about 30 feet away, I hear — all of a sudden, the float stops, and I kinda see something on the ground," Webb said in a phone interview.
"People within 50 feet of it — none of us are OK. All the adults were crying. Everywhere I saw, there were hundreds of people crying," said Webb.
NS RCMP say a 4-year-old girl died after falling under a passing float during the Santa Claus parade in Yarmouth. Police say it happened just before 7 p.m. on Starrs Road. The child passed away shortly after arriving to the hospital. @CTVAtlantic