Large numbers of police and other emergency vehicles are attending an incident outside the landmark and top tourist destination the Natural History Museum in London Saturday afternoon, after a private hire car mounted the pavement.
The London Ambulance Service said in a statement Saturday evening they had treated “11 patients, mostly for leg and head injuries, and took nine of them to hospital”. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities.
Over three hours after the incident, London’s Metropolitan Police used twitter to announce they were not treating the incident as an act of terrorism, making clear instead that “It is a road traffic collision.”
Eyewitnesses to the scene outside the renowned Kensington Museum on exhibition road Saturday reported seeing large numbers of police cars and armed police on Exhibition Road, with injured people being put into ambulances.
Publicly available records held by Transport for London show the vehicle believed to have been driven into the pedestrians is licensed for private hire work and has a licence that runs until August 2018.
There has been one arrest of a male and police said shortly after the incident “Enquiries to establish the circumstances and motive are underway.”
Video footage taken by purported eye-witnesses and uploaded to microblogging platform Twitter shows the apparent carnage around the world-famous museum immediately after the incident, with debris scattered across the floor, and four men pinning another to the ground, in an apparent citizen’s arrest.
Scene outside Natural History Museum in London as police arrest man who mounted pavement and hit pedestrians… pic.twitter.com/WEY2vnlh5r
— Raheem (@RaheemKassam) October 7, 2017
Reports on the ground of a car being driven into people outside the Natural History Museum. All media free to use this video. pic.twitter.com/10ePBhqVMF
— Patrick Greenfield (@pgreenfielduk) October 7, 2017
A police statement released shortly after the incident stated the force had been called at 14:21 UK time and that they believed “a number of pedestrians have been injured”.
Police set up a significant exclusion area around the Natural History Museum and deployed large numbers of officers, including armed response officers, which suggests officers were initially taking the incident more seriously than a road traffic collision, as they later called it.
The incident came as London, the United Kingdom, and other European cities remain on high alert after a succession of deadly automobile attacks in recent years. London has seen three vehicle ramming killings in 2017, including the March Westminster attack in which five were killed, the June London Bridge attack in which eight were killed, and the June Finsbury Park in which one died.
This story is developing