A vehicle plowed into pedestrians after it caught fire on a busy Shanghai street Friday morning, in front of a Starbucks store, at the intersection of West Nanjing and Xinchang Roads in the city's Huangpu District, near to several municipal government buildings. Witnesses said the van drove directly onto a sidewalk.
It mounted the sidewalk at an intersection in downtown Shanghai around 9 a.m., Shanghai police said in a statement. The vehicle was carrying six people. They were trapped under the van after the incident. At least eighteen people were injured, including the driver, three of them seriously. None of the injured were in a life-threatening condition. All of the injured were rushed to hospital for treatment.
A van hit pedestrians in Shanghai
The driver was identified by police as a 40-year-old man surnamed Chen. Chen, a worker at a Shanghai metal product company, was smoking and driving while carrying gas tanks, hazardous material "illegally," police said. However, the cylinders did not catch fire. The fire in the car was extinguished by firefighters. Video posted online showed firefighters extinguishing flames from a gray van as injured people lay on the sidewalk. The accident was under further investigation. Some local news reports disappeared from their websites shortly after they were published, an indication that government censors may have ordered them removed. Initially, images of the flaming van and injured pedestrians stirred concerns of a deliberate attack.