Police: London Car Crash was Traffic Incident, Not Terror

October 07, 2017 02:16 PM

The London Ambulance Service said 11 people were injured when a car crashed into pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum.

Deputy Director of Operations Peter McKenna said Saturday that nine of the injured were taken to the hospital for treatment, most with leg and head injuries.

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The incident caused panic on the crowded street outside the museum on Saturday afternoon. Police have not said if it was related to terrorism. One man was detained at the scene.

McKenna said the service sent multiple resources including its hazardous response team to London's museum district.

Workers in a cafe near London's Natural History Museum say they fled the scene in panic after a car hit pedestrians in the street outside.

Marilin Mueller, 20, said she thought at first it was a traffic accident Saturday but that "loads of police cars" arrived shortly after. She says "all of these police came marching down saying, 'Move, move.' They said, 'you need to evacuate.'"

Dieon Rurora said people were running down the street to get away and some fell over. He says "It was quite scary."

Many shops in the museum district were evacuated and the museum was shut down as police tried to determine if there was a threat to the public. Police have not said if the car crash is related to terrorism.

The crash happened at 2:20 p.m. on a day when the central London museum is usually teeming with pedestrians, including international tourists.

Photographs showed a dented silver car and a man being pinned to the ground outside the museum. Witness Katie Craine said she was coming out of the museum when she saw a man in handcuffs pinned down by police near a damaged car.

"He looked really proud of himself," she said. "He was laughing."

British officials, however, have not classified the incident as a terrorist act.

"From what we've seen in the methodology of other attacks I wouldn't rule it out, but we just don't have enough information on the ground to determine that at this point," said a British security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation.

The London Ambulance Service was tending to the injured. There was no immediate statement on the number or severity of the injuries.

Shopkeepers in the immediate area were told to evacuate and police established a large security cordon around the area minutes after the incident, closing some roads. Police helicopters circled the scene overhead.

Police said they are working to establish the circumstances of the crash and more information will be provided once details are clear.

The Natural History Museum tweeted that there had been a "serious incident" outside the museum, which is located near the world famous Victoria and Albert Museum and other attractions.

Downing Street said British Prime Minister Theresa May was being briefed on the incident.

London's official terrorist threat level has been set at "severe," indicating an attack is highly likely.

There have been a series of terror attacks on London and Manchester this year, including vehicle attacks on pedestrians at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.

Credits

AP

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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