Two arrested, several injured after driver deliberately hits pedestrians

By Maame Aba Afful
Car drives into crowd of pedestrians

Australian police have arrested two people after a car drove into a crowd in Melbourne.

The car "collided with a number of pedestrians" on Flinders Street, a busy junction in the centre of the city, said Victoria Police.

Fourteen people have been injured, with several in a critical condition.

Police have said it was a deliberate act but said it was too early to say whether it was terrorist-related.

The driver and another man have been detained.

"The motivations are unknown," police commander Russell Barrett told the press.

Authorities have asked people to avoid the area.

 

The white SUV struck pedestrians just after 16:30 local time (05:30 GMT).

Witness Jim Stoupas, who runs a business nearby, told the BBC: "It just barrelled through a completely full intersection of pedestrians. There was no attempt to brake, no attempt to swerve."

He added: "I saw probably five to eight people on the ground with people swarming around them [to help]. Within a minute, I think, there were police on site, so it was very, very speedy."

Victoria Ambulance said in a statement that a child of pre-school age with serious head injuries was among those taken to the hospital.

Another witness, Lachlan Read, told the Herald Sun the whole incident lasted about 15 seconds.

"He has gone straight through the red light at pace and it was bang, bang, bang. It was just one after the other," he said of the moment the vehicle started hitting people.

In January, six people died when a man drove a car into pedestrians on Bourke Street.

Afterwards, city authorities installed concrete blocks in various locations - including on Flinders Street - hoping to prevent vehicle-based attacks.

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