Car hits pedestrians in London, terrorism ruled out

  • 08/10/2017

A man has been detained, after 11 people were injured in a collision with a car near London's Natural History Museum, but police are ruling out terrorism.

Police said it was believed the car mounted the pavement and collided with several pedestrians on Saturday afternoon, in one of London's busiest tourist areas.

"The incident is a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident," the statement said.

The museum - one of the most popular visitor attractions in the country - said: "A vehicle has collided with pedestrians near the Natural History Museum entrance at Exhibition Road."

London's ambulance service said it had treated 11 people, mostly for head and leg injuries, with nine taken to hospital.

Unverified footage from the scene in South Kensington, west London, showed a man being pinned to the ground by what appeared to be four security guards or police officers.

Prime Minister Theresa May was being updated, a spokesman said, adding it was usual practice in such circumstances.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in close contact with the police's most senior counter-terrorism officer.

Exhibition Rd, in one of London's most upmarket districts, is home to a host of museums and restaurants, as well as university buildings, and the streets are packed with tourists at the weekend.

"We heard a horrible thudding noise and a car engine," Connor Honeyman, who was in the queue for the museum, told the BBC. "Everyone started running and screaming inside." 

A Reuters witness said many paramedics and police, including armed officers, were at the scene, although the atmosphere appeared calm.

The car believed to have been involved in the incident was lying diagonally across the road, jammed between two other vehicles. A BBC reporter said she had seen one or two people on the ground, and police had told her the injuries sustained were minor.

Britain is on its second-highest security alert level, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely. There have been five attacks described by the authorities as terrorism this year, three involving vehicles.

The Natural History Museum is the fourth-most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with 4.6 million visits during 2016, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

A spokesman for the museum told Reuters that no one was being allowed into the building and people were being let out through a different exit.