COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — During a race competition in Sri Lanka on Sunday, a race car veered off the track and crashed into a crowd of spectators and race officials in the town of Diyatalawa in the central hills, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) east of the capital Colombo, killing seven people and injuring 20 others, officials said.

Thousands of spectators looked on as the incident occurred during a race in the tea-growing central hills.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the incident.

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said one of the cars veered off the track and collided with spectators and officials of the event. Seven people, including four officials, were killed and another 20 were being treated at a hospital, said Thalduwa. He said three of the injured were in critical condition.

Thalduwa said police have launched an investigation into the accident, which was the 17th out of 24 events scheduled. The race was suspended after the accident.

About 45,000 spectators had gathered at the race circuit at a Sri Lankan military academy. The event was organized by the Sri Lankan army and Sri Lanka Automobile Sports.