Pedestrians mowed down by van in China

Panic The burning van drove down a footpath in downtown Shanghai before crashing outside a Starbucks on Friday

Panic The burning van drove down a footpath in downtown Shanghai before crashing outside a Starbucks on Friday

Police blamed the driver for accidentally igniting "dangerous substances" in the vehicle as he was smoking.

Liu Dongbiao shudders as he recalls the moment he was walking along West Nanjing Road in Shanghai on Friday morning and saw a minivan mount the pavement and plough into the crowd. According to the latest information, 18 people were reported injured so far and three of them were rushed to the hospital.

A witness, identified only by her surname Qian, said that immediately after the incident, some passers-by broke the vehicle window with stones to get to the driver, Shanghai- based news portal The Paper reported.

The crash comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to speak in Shanghai.

"The fire department carried gas tanks from the van, like those used in restaurants", Xu said.

'Two men were trying to pull the passenger out of the auto, but failed. "Other people told them to stop".

Commuters watched the drama unfold as ambulances arrives and the area was cordoned off by cops.

Emergency Firemen are seen putting out the blaze which was caused by the driver smoking in the van and accidentally igniting gas tubes in the back
Emergency Firemen are seen putting out the blaze which was caused by the driver smoking in the van and accidentally igniting gas tubes in the back

"The minivan did not slow down".

"The driver couldn't see the road ahead", he said. The van was reportedly fitted with multiple liquefied gas cylinders.

"It was terrible", said Liu, who is in his early 60s, two hours after the crash. Eighteen people were injured in the incident.

The crash triggered fear among public that it was a terror attack in the heart of the Chinese financial hub.

Another user, Wenshixiu, also posted a video on Twitter that showed emergency services tendering to the injured pedestrians.

May on Thursday met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing as part of her three-day visit aimed at establishing a new trading relationship after Britain leaves the European Union.

Dow sinks by 500 points after week of losses
Friday's Dow drop tells a different economic story than the Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report that was also released Friday. Shares of Exxon Mobil dropped 5.10 per cent to close at $84.53 apiece after it reported weaker-than-expected earnings on Friday.

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