[WATCH] Melbourne: Car slams into pedestrians on Flinders Street

At least 12 people were injured when a 'white SUV' collided with a number of pedestrians

(Photo: Twitter)
(Photo: Twitter)

Several people were hit by a vehicle near Flinders street station in Melbourne today.

The man who deliberately drove the car into the crowd is a drug user with mental health issued, police have said. The attack had no known terrorist links.

The 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent was taken into custody after a struggle at the scene. The car he was driving hit a number of pedestrians, injuring a total of fourteen people, with several in critical condition.

A second man, 24, was arrested after filming the incident. He had a bag of knives on him, the police said.

"It is now believed he had no links to the incident, however he is still assisting police with enquiries," they said.

An officer sustained shoulder and hand injuries during the arrest and was taken to hospital.

The driver was also taken to hospital, under police guard.

“Police are currently attending an incident on Flinders Street between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, where a vehicle has collided with a number of pedestrians. Police have arrested the driver of the car. Extent of injuries are not known at this stage.

“Police are asking any witnesses to go to the Melbourne West police station at 313 Spencer Street, Melbourne, and all vehicular and pedestrian traffic to avoid the area,” said Victoria police in a statement.

According to eyewitnesses, the vehicle did not brake before hitting pedestrians and described the vehicle as a white SUV.

According to Ambulance Victoria, a total of 13 people so far were taken to hospital for injuries, including a preschool aged child, with a head injury, who was taken to the Royal Children’s hospital. Two others are being treated at the scene

Finders street has been shut down.

“We could hear this noise, as we looked left, we saw this white car, it just mowed everybody down,” she said. “People are flying everywhere. We heard thump, thump. People are running everywhere,” said eyewitness Elizabeth Street on radio station 3AW.

The vehicle ran a red light just after 4.30pm on Thursday, witnesses have told 3AW.

The incident has brought parts of the city to a standstill. Ambulance, fire and police have cordoned off an increasingly large area of the southern section of the Melbourne CBD.

A witness, John, told ABC radio: “A car, an SUV coming at high speed and [I] really just heard the collision with people and bags and what must be shopping trolleys and I hope not prams ... It seems there were around 10 pedestrians involved.”

Aerial footage of the scene shows a white Suzuki SUV crashed into a tram stop.

A witness, Jim, who owns a bakery on Flinders Street, said of the driver: “He seemed to be travelling at about 80-100km down Flinders Street in a westerly direction. The intersection was full of pedestrians and he ploughed through pedestrians. The only thing slowing him down was him hitting pedestrians.

 “There was no braking, there was no slowing down. He went straight through the intersection. So whether it was targeted or whether he’s had heart attack, or was drunk, I don’t know.

“He probably hit about 15 to 20 pedestrians. The car stopped because of just, I think, the amount of pedestrians that it had hit .... All you could hear was, ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang’.

He described the vehicle as a white Suzuki Vitara.Police are continuing to urge Melburnians to avoid the area. The Swanston Street bridge is now closed to traffic. Train commuters have been urged to avoid Flinders Street station.

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