A limited-edition Porsche supercar flew off the track into the crowd Sunday at a fundraising event organized by the government of Malta, injuring 26 people, five of them critically, authorities said.
The car, a Porsche 918 Spyder capable of hitting 210 mph, was being demonstrated at Paqpaqli ghall-iStrina, a large annual auto show at Malta International Airport in Hal Farrug, which benefits Malta's Community Chest Fund charity, police and the government said.
The driver of the car, described by authorities only as "a man of foreign nationality," was seriously injured, said Chris Fearne, health secretary of the tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea.
The national police bureau said the driver lost control of the sports car and crashed into the barriers on the opposite side of the road, where spectators were watching.
"The car was speeding down the taxiway when a back wheel went on the grass," a witness told the Times of Malta newspaper.
The car was owned by British telecommunications millionaire Paul Bailey, Maltese media and sports car enthusiast publications reported. It couldn't immediately be confirmed whether he was at the wheel Sunday when it crashed about 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).
Fearne said some victims suffered severe head injuries, multiple fractures and abdominal injuries. Psychologists were called in to assist the victims and spectators, the government said.
Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca canceled a foreign trip to visit the injured. Occasionally choking up at a news conference Sunday afternoon, she said the Community Chest Fund would support the victims.
Asked whether there should have been more precautions at the event, Coleiro Preca said that the accident was the subject of a magisterial inquiry and that "it would be unethical to comment on it."
The injured were being treated at Mater Dei Hospital in Msida, where Prime Minister Joseph Muscat visited the wounded.