LINVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — At least one pedestrian was killed and several others were injured when they were hit by a van in the North Carolina mountains just as a popular foot race was set to begin Thursday evening, officials said.

The Bear footrace was scheduled to begin when the incident happened near the intersection of U.S. 221 and N.C. 105 in Linville, according to a statement from Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Inc.

WJZY-TV reported at least one person was dead and at least five people were taken to area hospitals after the incident. At least 200 race competitors were at the scene when the incident happened, the TV station reported.

The incident happened when someone driving a van associated with the Bear footrace accidentally hit the accelerator and drove into the crowd around 6:30 p.m., Avery County Sheriff Mike Hensley told WJZY.

WGHP reported the person who died was Julia Holderness, 72, of Greensboro.

One man at the scene said he saw a van swerve into the crowd, hit a small vehicle, and then veer back into the road, Jeremy Bush told WJZY-TV.

The driver of the van looked “very much in shock” during the incident, Bush said.

Officials with Grandfather Mountain Highland Games said they canceled the race.

“The Bear,” part of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, is a 5-mile footrace that starts at the intersection in Linville and ends on top of Grandfather Mountain.

“On behalf of myself and the entire Grandfather Mountain Highland Games organization and family, we are deeply saddened by tonight’s devastating event and extend our condolences to those affected,” Grandfather Mountain Highland Games President Steve Quillin said in a news release.

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games activities set for Friday through Sunday will go on as planned, the group said.