News World Mini-van ploughs into pedestrians in Shanghai, injuring 18

Mini-van ploughs into pedestrians in Shanghai, injuring 18

shanghai minivan rampage
The van came to rest outside a Starbucks store. Photo: AAP
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At least 18 people have been injured, three seriously, after a vehicle mounted the pavement in a busy part of central Shanghai and ploughed into pedestrians, the city government says.

The Shanghai Government said the vehicle hit the pedestrians on a road running next to People’s Square.

According to preliminary investigations, the fire was caused by a 40-year-old driver surnamed Chen who was smoking a cigarette inside the vehicle, the Shanghai public security bureau said on its official Weibo feed.

Chen, who is currently receiving treatment, is suspected of illegally transporting dangerous substances, police said.

Local media reported the vehicle was carrying six people and several tanks of gas.

Shanghai-based news portal The Paper said the vehicle was a mini-van, and cited eyewitnesses as saying it was on fire as it drove onto the pavement, knocked people down and came to a stop in front of a Starbucks outlet.

A Shanghai-based Starbucks spokesman said the store was not damaged and its customers and employees were safe.

“The store is currently closed and we will assist the authorities in their investigations,” he said.

The incident coincides with a visit to the city by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Some bystanders tried to break the window of the vehicle and drag out the six people in the vehicle, including the driver, The Paper reported.

Other witnesses told the news outlet that there were gas cylinders in the vehicle.

The story was later removed from the news outlet’s website and replaced with the Shanghai Government’s short statement on the incident, likely an indication that the Government ordered the story to be taken down.

Footage on Chinese social media, which reporters could not independently verify, showed smoke coming from the vehicle and injured people lying in the street.

Other videos showed injured people lying on the pavement next to a Starbucks cafe.

shanghai minivan rampage
Pedestrians are pinned in front of the crashed minivan. Photo: AAP