Terror alert at museum Driver held after 11 injured by car
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
Driver jumped from the car and started running before he was rugby tackled EYE WITNESS WHO SAW CRASH HAPPEN NEAR MUSEUM
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 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 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.
Armed police near museum GOING NOWHERE Members of the public pin taxi driver to ground PILE-UP The Prius taxi ended up wedged between two parked cars