Smoke rise from a burning hospital in Miryang
Road accident in Shanghai (Representational Picture) Stringer/Reuters

A van slammed into pedestrians and left at least 18 injured people after veering onto a sidewalk outside a Starbucks in Shanghai on Friday, February 2.

According to reports, city authority has said that out of all injured people three individuals were seriously wounded.

The incident took place just before 9 a.m. on Nanjing Road West, near People's Park in the heart of the city.

At the time of the incident, the area was quite crowded as local residents were going to their workplace.

The Shanghai police said that the driver, aged 40, is identified as Chen. He worked for a Shanghai based metal-ware company. According to police reports, Chen had no criminal history.

An eye witness states that the van was carrying fuel canisters. The Shanghai public security bureau mentioned on its official Weibo feed that Chen was smoking a cigarette inside the vehicle and is suspected of carrying dangerous as well as illegal substances.

A security guard at an adjacent building, Zhang Sai said that the van was on fire when it lost control and jumped the curb and hit some pedestrians around 8.50 am.

The aftermath was posted on social media, which showed that local firefighters extinguished the blaze from the grey van. At the same time, injured people were lying down on the sidewalk.

The police indicated that the crash was an accident and the van stopped at the entrance of Starbucks café, which has more than 500 franchises in the country.

The concerned person from the cafe told local news agencies that the store was not damaged and the customers, including employees were also safe. They also ensured that the cafe will cooperate with police during their investigation.

In 2013, a similar situation occurred when a speeding vehicle bowled along a crowded sidewalk and burst into flames near the Forbidden City. That accident left dozens of people injured.

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