14 people including a toddler was injured.
A vehicle was deliberately driven into pedestrians at Melbourne’s main Flinders Street railway station during the evening rush hour Thursday, police said, injuring 14 people including a toddler.
A witness, Sue, told Melbourne Radio 3AW: “We could hear this noise, as we looked left, we saw this white car, it just mowed everybody down. People are flying everywhere. We heard thump, thump. People are running everywhere.”
A police spokesman told reporters 14 people had been wounded and seven people were in hospital with critical injuries.
Police arrested the male driver and another man, who appears to have been a passenger in the vehicle. They have not yet been charged.
A police spokesman told reporters two hours after the incident that the act was deliberate, but a motive was unknown as it was still early in the investigation.
Witnesses said a white Suzuki SUV vehicle appears to have run a red light at 4:40 pm (0540 GMT) at high speed, and ploughed right into the crowd as they crossed the main zebra crossing leading to Flinders Street Station.
A witness said he saw a passer-by run to the vehicle after it stopped and reach in to the driver’s side window. Other witnesses said many other men ran towards the vehicle to prevent the driver getting away before police arrived.
Police were seen dragging a man in a white shirt and jeans from the vehicle. Witnesses said the man in the white shirt was the driver who appeared to be unconscious as he was dragged from the vehicle.
A heavily bearded man was seen handcuffed and seated, leaning against a wall, talking calmly with police officers. He was later led away in a police van.
A witness named David told Channel Ten news that the vehicle drove into the crowd of Christmas shoppers who were crossing the road towards the station.
“All that slowed him down was the impact of hitting bodies. I just heard bang, bang, bang.”
He said the vehicle accelerated to between 80 and 100 kph as it ran a red light and seemed to aim to where the crowd of people was thickest.
The area in central Melbourne is packed with people doing Christmas shopping and children on school holidays.
Ambulance services earlier said they were treating twelve people at the scene and had taken seven to hospital, including a pre-school aged child with a head injury.
The incident seems similar to one in January when a car was deliberately driven into pedestrians near the same spot, killing six people and injuring thirty.
That driver, Dimitrious Gargasoulas, is facing trial on six murder charges. It was not deemed a terrorist act. Gargasoulas is thought to have mental health problems, but he did make rambling pro-Islamic statements.
After that incident heavy concrete bollards have been placed at the entrances to public footpath zones in Melbourne and major cities around Australia.