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As it happenedended1513854742

Melbourne car crash - live updates: Car ploughs in to crowd of pedestrians in 'deliberate act', leaving many injured

Police arrest driver of white Suzuki SUV and another man

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 21 December 2017 08:15 GMT
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Video appears to show moment man is arrested in Melbourne after 'deliberate crash'

A car has been driven into pedestrians outside a major train station in Australia in what police have called "a deliberate act".

Up to 19 people have been injured, four critically, outside Flinders Street station in Melbourne.

Police have arrested the driver of the white Suzuki SUV and another man.

"We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act," Victorian Police commander Russell Barrett said. "The motivations are unknown."

Victoria Police chief Shane Patton said investigators have found no evidence to suggest a link with terrorism and they had not established any relationship between the two men.

The incident had chilling echoes of several attacks by Islamist militants in various parts of the world over the past few years.

In January, four people were killed and more than 20 injured when a man deliberately drove into pedestrians at a spot just a few hundred metres away from Thursday's incident, though that was not terrorism-related.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said federal and state police as well as security agencies were working together to secure the scene and investigate the "shocking incident".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the emergency and health workers who are treating them," Mr Turnbull said in a post on his official Twitter account.

Daniel Andrews, premier of the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, described it as a "horrible incident."

He added: "Stay safe. Check on your loved ones. And thank you to our brave emergency services."

Police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where a car ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne
Police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where a car ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne (REUTERS)

A statement issued by the City of Melbourne local authority said: "At this stage, the details of this incident are not fully known.

"What is known is this: a vehicle has struck and injured pedestrians at the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders streets. Victoria Police have two people in custody.

"Our emergency services, including Victoria Police, have control of this situation. We have every confidence in them to protect Melbourne in such horrific circumstances.

"We have the best advice available to us and we will continue to work with the State Government and Victoria Police to keep people safe.

"At this time our thoughts are with those most affected and of course we will work with agencies to provide immediate and long-term support to them."

Police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where a car ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne
Police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where a car ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne (AFP/Getty Images)

Australia has been on a "high" national threat level since 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalised in Iraq and Syria.

A staunch ally of the United States and its campaign against Isis in Syria and Iraq, Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens are fighting there.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:07
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Police have said they believe it was a deliberate act.

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:12
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"We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act," Victorian Police commander Russell Barrett told reporters. 

"The motivations are unknown."

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:23
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"As it [the car] approached this intersection... it just mowed everybody down, people were flying everywhere," one witness who identified herself only as Sue told radio station 3AW.

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:25
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A picture said to show police dragging a man from the vehicle has been shared by a Nine News journalist, Brett Mcleod. 

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:39
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Here's what we know about the apparent attack: 

  • A white Suzuki SUV was driven into a number of pedestrians in front of Flinders Street Station just after 4.30pm local time on Thursday
  • The driver of the vehicle and a second man have been arrested and are in police custody
  • 14 pedestrians were injured
  • Police believe it was a "deliberate act"
Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:46
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Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:51
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Some analysis from Lizzie Dearden, our home affairs and security correspondent: 

There has been no comment on Isis' official propaganda channels on the incident in Melbourne, with recent posts from the group concentrating on fighting around the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Police have not yet given any information on the suspects or confirmed whether the incident is terror-related.

But it comes after a series of vehicle attacks across Europe and the US, which have been carried out by jihadis inspired by Isis propagnda

The terrorist group has been intensifying its calls for supporters to launch attacks in their home countries as it becomes harder for them to travel to its dwindling territories in Syria and Iraq.

The group has not claimed several attacks carried out by jihadis inspired by its propaganda, including the New York bombing.

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 08:59
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"I was crossing Flinders Street on the way to the train station. I heard an engine rev behind me and heard a thump," one man identified only as David said on ABC TV.

He said he turned around saw "people literally getting thrown into the air as it hit them." 

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 09:17
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A witness told the Australian Broadcasting Corp the vehicle was travelling at 50-62mph (80 to 100kph).

"There was no breaking or any slowing down at all," said Jim Stoupas, who said he was standing outside his doughnut shop when the car crashed into the people, one after another.

"All you could hear was just 'bang bang bang bang bang'," he said.

Samuel Osborne21 December 2017 09:22

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