MELBOURNE: Fourteen people have been injured, several of them critically, after a car ploughed into a crowd in central Melbourne in what police described as a “deliberate act”.
In a terrifying incident during the pre-Christmas shopping rush, the white SUV rammed into a large number of pedestrians at high speed on the pavement outside Flinders Street railway station, one of the Australian city’s main transport hubs.
Police said the driver and another man have been arrested after what they said they believed “was a deliberate act”. Asked if the incident was terrorism-related, Victorian Police commander Russell Barrett said: “The motivations are unknown.”
Witnesses described “people flying everywhere” outside Flinders Street station at around 5pm local time (6am GMT) on Thursday.
Others reported that the white Suzuki SUV, which is said to have had two men inside, appeared not to slow down before it crashed into a tram stop at a reported 60mph.
Images from the scene showed casualties being treated in the street by paramedics. A young man in jeans and a T-shirt could be seen being arrested by three police officers on the steps of the station, although it was unclear if he had been in the car.
According to the Australian Associated Press, a witness said the Suzuki was travelling at around 60mph.
“The intersection was full of pedestrians and he just ploughed through,” the witness named Jim told.
“The only thing that slowed him down was him hitting pedestrians. There was no braking, there was no slowing down.”
A woman called Nicola told she initially thought a bomb had gone off.
She said: “I was waiting for the train and there was a big bang and lots of screaming.
“I thought it must be a bomb. I could just see dust rising and we were told to get away and stay in the station.”