Vehicle plows into crowd - 5 killed
Oct 28, 2013 / 6:46 am
A sport-utility vehicle plowed through crowds in front of Beijing's Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire Monday, killing the three occupants and two tourists and injuring 38 visitors and security officers, police said.
The dead included a female traveller from the Philippines, according to a statement on the Beijing police's microblog. Three other Filipinos and a Japanese man were among the injured, it said, but gave no details about their condition.
No word has been given about a possible cause behind the incident that closed one of the most politically sensitive and heavily guarded public spaces in the country, but authorities erected screens to hide the aftermath and hurriedly cleaned up the scene while images of the crash were taken down from the Internet.
The police notice said they were investigating and taking "effective measures to ensure the capital's safety and stability."
The injured were among the crowds in front of the iconic Tiananmen Gate, where a large portrait of Mao Zedong hangs near where tourists enter the southern entrance to the former imperial palace.
The vehicle burst into flames after crashing into a guardrail of one of the ancient stone bridges leading to the gate, police said.
The statement said the driver had veered inside of a barrier separating a crowded sidewalk from busy Chang'an Avenue then drove along the walkway to Tiananmen Gate, which stands across the avenue from the sprawling Tiananmen Square.
Chang'an Avenue was closed as police and rescue services converged on the area, but the police statement said traffic was restored just over an hour later.
Any incident in the area is considered sensitive because the square was the focus of a 1989 pro-democracy movement that was violently suppressed by the military. The square is still heavily policed to guard against political protests as occasionally happens on sensitive dates.
The incident had every appearance of being deliberate, since the driver apparently jumped a curb at a nearby cross street and travelled about 400 metres to the spot where it was said to have caught fire while avoiding trees, street lights and at least one security checkpoint.
Police did not immediately release any information about who was inside the car.
Read more World News
- Kim Jong Un removes uncle from power
- US and Pakistan - the special meeting
- 100,000 march in Bangkok
- Storm blankets NFL fields with snow
- Uncle ousted for 'anti-state' acts
- Thousands attend Paul Walker memorial
- Dead whales found-part of stranded pod
- Israeli president willing to meet Iran's
- Presidents & royalty at Mandela service
- Prince Harry's Antarctic race called off
- Susan Boyle diagnosed with Asperger's
- Thailand crisis deepens
(Click for RSS instructions.)