Many hurt as car hits pedestrians near London museum, driver detained
A large number of pedestrians were seriously injured after a car rammed into the pavement outside the Natural History Museum in the South Kensington area of west London on Saturday.
London: A large number of pedestrians were seriously injured after a car rammed into the pavement outside the Natural History Museum in the South Kensington area of west London on Saturday.
According to reports, London Police have arrested a man from the scene.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 7, 2017
London Police earlier said that the incident outside the museum in west London in which at least 11 people were injured was not being treated as terrorism-related at this stage.
Reuters, however, quoted London Police as saying that they were keeping an ''open mind'' after the incident, contradicting an earlier comment ussed by the city's police force.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, also issued a statement and urged people to avoid going to the area as the probe into the incident were still underway.
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) October 7, 2017
British media reports said that the incident occurred after an uncontrolled car mounted the pavement outside the Museum – a major tourist attraction.
The crash, according to eye-witnesses, happened at 2:20 pm. Raveen Aujmaya, a Twitter user, also posted a video of the incident.
— Raveen Aujmaya (@raveenaujmaya) October 7, 2017
Police initially described the incident in the South Kensington area of west London as a collision and said the motive for the incident was under investigation.
"Inquiries to establish the circumstances and motive are underway," London Police said.
The museum authorities also took to Twitter and said that they were working with police after "a serious incident" outside and would provide more information later.
There’s been a serious incident outside the Museum. We are working w/ @metpoliceuk and will provide an update when we have more information
— NaturalHistoryMuseum (@NHM_London) October 7, 2017
A statement issued by the London Police said its officers were on the scene and that London Ambulance Service had been called. Armed police were deployed to the scene, which is also near the Science Museum, and the whole area was subsequently cordoned off.
The Ambulance Service also immediately responded to the call.
A museum spokesman was quoted as saying that that no one was being allowed into the building and people were being let out through a different exit.
A Downing Street spokesperson said British Prime Minister Theresa May is "being kept up to date on events". Prime Minister Theresa May offered her thanks to the emergency services, adding, "My thoughts are with the injured.''
The incident comes at a time when Britain is on its second highest security alert level, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely, and there have been five attacks already this year, three involving a vehicle.
In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge killing four before stabbing a police officer to death in the grounds of Parliament.
Three Islamist militants drove into people on London Bridge in June before stabbing people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight and the same month a van was driven into worshippers near a mosque in north London which left one man dead.
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.