Marseille incident: Van crashes into two bus shelters killing at least one person in the southern French city

Police advise public to avoid Old Port area where driver was arrested

Samuel Osborne
Monday 21 August 2017 10:05 BST
Van crashes into two bus shelters in Marseille

At least one woman has been killed and another injured after a van crashed into two bus shelters in the French city of Marseille.

Police advised the public to avoid the Old Port area where the driver of the Renault Master, a 35-year-old man from Grenoble, was arrested.

The driver first hit a bus shelter around 8.15am in the 13th arrondissement in the poorer northern part of France's second-largest city, before hitting a second bus shelter an hour later in the 11th arrondissement, several miles south.

French forensic police search the site following the crash
French forensic police search the site following the crash (Getty)

A woman in her 40s was killed at the second bus stop in front of a KFC restaurant and a man injured at the first, French media said.

BFM-TV said a witness noted the licence plate of the van and was able to give it to police.

Media reports say the driver was known to police for minor crimes and has psychological issues.

French police secure the area in the port city of Marseille (Reuters/Philippe Laurenson)
French police secure the area in the port city of Marseille (Reuters/Philippe Laurenson) (REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson)

France's counter-terrorism prosecutor said it had not taken up the case at this stage, while a police official said “the terrorist motive is completely rejected”.

"The arrest was made in a surprisingly calm fashion, no gunshots were exchanged," David Reverdy, of the Alliance police union in Marseille, told BFM TV.

"The distance travelled by the driver suggests a certain determination," Mr Reverdy said.

"But we can ask ourselves: why these places? If one wanted to cause carnage, other places in Marseille, at another time of day, would have been more logical," he said.

The crash comes just days after back-to-back van attacks in Barcelona and the Spanish resort town of Cambrils killed 14 people.

France has been under a state of emergency since Islamist militants killed 130 people in and around Paris in November 2015.

Another 86 people were killed in an attack in Nice in July last year, when a Tunisian man drove a truck along the seafront boulevard, mowing down Bastille Day revellers.

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