Beijing Tiananmen Square car blaze kills five and injures dozens

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Originally published on October 28, 2013

Five people were killed and many more injured on Monday when a SUV ploughed into a crowd and crashed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

According to the Hong Kong Chinese-language paper Sing Tao Daily, the car, which contained three individuals yet to be identified, was travelling down South Chizhi Street before making a right turn onto Chang An Road. The car continued west and turned off the road onto a pedestrian area at the north end of the square.

The vehicle drove through the crowd, injuring 38 tourists and police officers before it crashed into the a guardrail of Jinshui Bridge on the moat of the Forbidden City and bursted into flames, police and emergency officials were quoted as saying in a Xinhua news report.

The driver and two passengers in the car were killed on the scene. Two bystanders — a female tourist from the Philippines and a male tourist from southern Guangdong — also died after sustaining injuries.

Three tourists from the Philippines and one from Japan were among the 38 injured, the Beijing city government reported on one of its official news websites.

"I heard an explosion and saw fire. The scene was very frightening," a witness told AFP news agency. "There were paramilitary police who told people to get back into their cars and stop taking pictures."

"The injured people were all sent to a nearby hospital," Beijing police said in their official Sina Weibo account. "Police at the site immediately launched rescue efforts, and the fire was quickly extinguished... the situation is currently being investigated further." Sina Weibo is a microblogging website similar to Twitter and widely used in China.
The main road through the square was briefly closed. Police also evacuated the main part of the square.

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