British Police said on Saturday that a car crash that hurt 11 people in London was not a terror-related incident but a traffic collision.
“The incident in #ExhibitionRoad #SouthKensington earlier is not being treated as a terror-related incident. It is a road traffic collision,” the Metropolitan Police said.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 7, 2017
The statement came hours after a driver crashed his car into pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum in London, injuring at least 11 people. Nine of them were taken to hospital for treatment.
The driver was detained at the scene. Video footage showed a group of men holding a man down on the pavement after the crash.
Police would at first not say what the nature of the incident was, claiming that the motive and circumstances were being investigated.
One witness, however, said the driver was laughing after the incident.
Witness Katie Craine said she was coming out of the museum when she saw a man in handcuffs pinned down by police near a damaged car.
“He looked really proud of himself,” she said. “He was laughing.”
Britain has been on high alert following five terror attacks in six months — four of them in London and one in Manchester — with the bloodshed claiming 35 lives.
Three of the attacks in London involved the use of a vehicle to plough into pedestrians.
London’s official terrorist threat level has been set at “severe,” indicating an attack is highly likely.
The crash on Saturday happened at 2:20 p.m. local time on a day when the central London museum is usually teeming with pedestrians including international tourists. Photographs showed a dented silver car and a man being pinned to the ground outside the museum.
Crowds in the busy tourist spot in South Kensington, which is also home to the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum, fled screaming in panic.
One witness, who gave his name only as Leonard, said: “I was near South Ken station and there were many police.
“Suddenly a police woman officer shouted at the crowd to run, and everybody flew in panic, many people screaming.”
Police said more details would be released later. There was no immediate statement on the number or severity of the injuries.