Smoking driver causes fire, crash in Shanghai, police say; pedestrians hurt

Bulgaria At least 18 Injured After Van Slams into Pedestrians in Shanghai

An eyewitness told local newspaper "The Paper" that the burning van knocked down several pedestrians, while others managed to get out of the way.

A van ploughed into pedestrians after veering onto a crowded sidewalk outside a Starbucks outlet in central Shanghai on Friday, leaving at least 18 people injured, three of them seriously, city authorities said.

Police said the crash was caused by a 40-year old man, named only as Chen, who was smoking inside the van, which ignited the gas in the vehicle.

Several people took to social media to tweet images and videos of the accident.

Security was tight in the city in view of British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit. "I can't believe 18 people were injured - it's too many, it's just terrible".

"It was disgusting", said Liu, who is in his early 60s, two hours after the crash.

Eighteen people were injured - including the driver who is in critical condition in hospital - when the minivan crashed into a fence in front of a Starbucks and slammed into pedestrians at about 9am.

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They do not believe the crash was an act of terrorism. "The van was on fire before it crashed on the sidewalk", Zhang said.

A similar incident occurred in 2013 when five people were killed and almost 40 injured in a suicide attack in Tiananmen Square.

A similar incident occurred in 2013 when five people were killed and almost 40 injured in a suicide attack in Tiananmen Square. The attack was blamed on separatist extremists from the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group native to northwestern China.

Other speakers at the event included Li Shufu, the chairman of Chinese carmaker Geely, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Kostya Novoselov. The other injured are also receiving medical treatment.

"It indicates how urgent it is for the government to step up promotion of public safety knowledge and awareness", Li said.

Shih reported from Beijing.

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