A car struck at least a dozen pedestrians outside Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street station on Thursday afternoon, shutting down the center of Australia’s second-largest city.
In a statement, Victoria Police said they had arrested the driver of the vehicle after it collided with “a number of pedestrians” just after 4.30 p.m. local time between Elizabeth and Swanston streets.
A second man was arrested in relation to the collision, said police, as they appealed for witnesses and advised people to stay clear of what they’re calling a “crime scene.”
Flinders Street is one of Melbourne’s busiest pedestrian roads, running between a major train station and the bustling city center. It would have been crowded with commuters and shoppers making their final purchases in the days before Christmas.
Paramedics have taken 13 people to nearby hospitals, Ambulance Victoria said in a statement. Two others are being treated at the scene.
One of the injured was a pre-school age child who was taken to hospital with a head injury, and is in a serious condition, Ambulance Victoria said.
Jim Stoupas, owner of the Walkers Donut shop on Elizabeth Street, told CNN he saw an SUV going about 60 miles an hour (100 kph) down Flinders Street.
“It just plowed into the crowds,” he said. “We heard this noise and we looked up then we just heard bang, bang, bang and people flying everywhere. We had a lot of customers in our shop and they were traumatized.”
Stoupas said police had arrived almost immediately and many officers were still at the scene.
Concrete bollards were erected along the side of some Melbourne city roads by the government in June, after a number of vehicle-related terror attacks around the world.
The incident comes almost one year after six people were killed when a car plowed into pedestrians along Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall in January, just a few streets north of Flinders Street station. Police said that incident was not terror-related.