Man held over Natural History Museum car crash released | UK news

Man held over Natural History Museum car crash released | UK news
Man held over Natural History Museum car crash released | UK news

A man who was arrested after a car struck pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum in west London has been released under investigation, police have said.

The incident in Exhibition Road, south Kensington, which occurred at about 2.20pm on Saturday, left 11 people injured and prompted a major security alert, although the Met later said it was not terrorist-related.

A 47-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of dangerous driving and was taken to hospital for treatment, along with eight other people. The London ambulance service said they had mostly suffered leg and head injuries.

The Met said the suspect was subsequently taken to a north London police station for questioning but was released on Sunday while inquiries continued.

DC Darren Case from the roads and transport policing command said: “Because of where this collision occurred and the number of pedestrians involved, I fully appreciate the concern and alarm this incident caused. Inquiries have established that this incident is not terrorist-related and I’d like to thank those who came to assist the injured. Thankfully there are no serious injuries with the majority now discharged from hospital.

“We are grateful for the patience of those in and around the area following the disruption caused. We would ask anybody who saw what happened, or who have any pictures or moving footage that could help us gain a greater understanding of what happened, to get in touch with us.”

Dozens of armed officers responded to the incident, reflecting the fear that it was the latest in a string of terrorist attacks in the capital that have used vehicles to target pedestrians. The ambulance service sent multiple resources to the scene, including its hazardous area response team, ambulance crews, paramedics in fast response cars and incident response officers.

Vehicles have been deployed as weapons in terrorist attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, north London this year.

The crash took place on a busy day in London’s museum district, which is also home to the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum alone had 4.6m visitors last year, equivalent to around 12,600 on an average day.

A waitress from a restaurant on Exhibition Road, which was evacuated and cordoned off, said: “I was serving some customers when the police came and just told everyone to run.”

Some people said they were ushered into the neighbouring Science Museum.

Lesley Carter said passersby held the man down before police arrived. “I saw the man pinned down by about six people. It looked like the car had smashed into the wall between two other cars and the guy got out to run before being pinned down. Loads of people were running away and within minutes the police had turned up. It was a very quick response.”

The prime minister, Theresa May, thanked the first responders and the public for their help and said her thoughts were with the injured. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he had been in close contact with the assistant Met commissioner Mark Rowley, who is also head of national counter-terrorism policing.

Temporary road closures have been lifted and the museum was open as normal on Sunday morning.

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