Mini-van ploughs into pedestrians in Shanghai, injuring 18 people

Mini-van ploughs into pedestrians in Shanghai, injuring 18 people

Mini-van ploughs into pedestrians in Shanghai, injuring 18 people

Updated 2 February 2018, 16:20 AEDT

At least 18 people are injured, three seriously, after a vehicle mounts the pavement in a busy part of central Shanghai and ploughs into pedestrians.

At least 18 people have been injured, three seriously, after a vehicle mounted the pavement in a busy part of central Shanghai and ploughed into pedestrians, the city government says.

The Shanghai Government said the vehicle hit the pedestrians on a road running next to People's Square.

The vehicle was on fire, the statement added, without saying if the fire happened before the incident occurred.

The flames had since been extinguished and an investigation was underway, the government said, without elaborating.

Shanghai-based news portal The Paper said the vehicle was a mini-van, and cited eyewitnesses as saying it was on fire as it drove onto the pavement, knocked people down and came to a stop in front of a Starbucks outlet.

A Shanghai-based Starbucks spokesman told Reuters the store was not damaged and its customers and employees were safe.

"The store is currently closed and we will assist the authorities in their investigations," he said.

The incident coincides with a visit to the city by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Some bystanders tried to break the window of the vehicle and drag out the six people in the vehicle, including the driver, The Paper reported.

Other witnesses told the news outlet that there were gas cylinders in the vehicle.

The story was later removed from the news outlet's website and replaced with the Shanghai government's short statement on the incident, likely an indication that the government ordered the story to be taken down.

Footage on Chinese social media, which reporters could not independently verify, showed smoke coming from the vehicle and injured people lying in the street.

Reuters