Ter­ror alert at mu­seum

Driver held af­ter 11 in­jured by car

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - BY DAN WAR­BUR­TON, ALAN SELBY, AN­TO­NIA PAGET and STEPHEN HAY­WARD scoops@sun­daymir­ror.co.uk

TER­RI­FIED tourists fled yes­ter­day when a car ploughed into 11 pedes­tri­ans out­side one of Lon­don’s busiest mu­se­ums, spark­ing fears of an­other high-speed ter­ror at­tack.

Po­lice screamed at peo­ple to “run, run” as armed cops swarmed near the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum.

They feared an­other at­tack us­ing ve­hi­cles – like the ones at West­min­ster and Lon­don Bridge this sum­mer that left 12 dead and 98 in­jured.

Au­thor­i­ties are on high alert af­ter five ter­ror at­tacks in the UK this year.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at 2.20pm when a Toy­ota Prius taxi – with a cy­clist cling­ing to the bon­net – ca­reered into pedes­tri­ans and hit two parked cars be­fore the driver tried to flee.

One re­port said it was an Uber car with pas­sen­gers in­side.

A wit­ness, who did not want to be named, said: “He revved his en­gine and there were three loud bangs. He hit the wall and there were peo­ple laid out on the floor.

“He im­me­di­ately jumped from the car and started run­ning.

“Some­one rugby tack­led him and he was pinned to the ground.”

Other passers-by tried to help the in­jured as the he­roes held the taxi driver down de­spite fear­ing he was a ter­ror­ist.

He was pic­tured ly­ing face down in a pool of blood with cuts to his face. Mo­ments later po­lice ar­rived and took him away.

Singer Pixie Lott’s model fi­ancé Oliver Cheshire was one of those who held the driver down.

Last night he tweeted: “Thank you to the men who helped me pin him down and the po­lice for com­ing so quickly. Thanks for mes­sag­ing ev­ery­body. I’m OK.”

Ex­hi­bi­tion Road – home to three of Bri­tain’s big­gest mu­se­ums and one of West Lon­don’s busiest streets – im­me­di­ately went into lock­down.

Scores of am­bu­lances were sent to the scene and a po­lice he­li­copter hov­ered over­head.

Staff in restau­rants shel­tered peo­ple flee­ing the sus­pected at­tack.

A chef at a nearby Casa Brindisa restau­rant said: “Peo­ple were run­ning down the street scream­ing.

“They came flood­ing into the restau­rant to get off the street.”

Last night po­lice con­firmed it was a traf­fic ac­ci­dent with eleven in­jured – in­clud­ing at least one child – with nine treated in hos­pi­tal.

Wit­ness So­phie Parry, 56, an en­gi­neer from Lu­ton, said: “We heard three pops. They sounded like gun­fire but it seems it could have been the car hit­ting bol­lards.

“I looked up and we could see the car car­ry­ing a cy­clist on the bon­net.

“We couldn’t see how fast the car was trav­el­ling but we did hear it rev slightly. The car veered across the road by paramedics. The child looked to be of pri­mary school age but I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl.”

Last night Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May thanked emer­gency ser­vices and praised mem­bers of the pub­lic who tack­led the driver, adding: “My thoughts are with the in­jured.”

A spokesman for Scot­land Yard con­firmed 11 peo­ple had been hurt, but said: “Their in­juries are not be­lieved and crashed into two parked cars. When we walked past we couldn’t see any­one in the car but peo­ple were tend­ing to the cy­clist.”

A cou­ple close by said they heard “the en­gine rev be­fore three bangs”.

Vis­i­tors to the neigh­bour­ing Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum – which stayed open – saw the drama from a win­dow.

One man said: “I could see a woman and a child on the ground be­ing treated to be life-threat­en­ing or life-chang­ing. The man de­tained by of­fi­cers is un­der ar­rest and is in cus­tody at a north Lon­don po­lice sta­tion.

“The in­ci­dent is a road traf­fic in­ves­ti­ga­tion and not a ter­ror­ist-re­lated in­ci­dent. En­quiries are on­go­ing.”

The Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum has 4.6mil­lion vis­i­tors a year and is the fourth busiest in Bri­tain.

GO­ING NOWHERE Mem­bers of the pub­lic pin taxi driver to ground PILE-UP The Prius taxi ended up wedged be­tween two parked cars

HIGH ALERT Armed po­lice near mu­seum

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