Several hurt in car incident near London museum; police say not terrorism-linked

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Eleven people were injured on Saturday when a car collided with pedestrians near London's Natural History Museum, in one of the capital's busiest tourist areas, but police doused fears it was a terrorist attack, saying it was a road traffic incident.

Police said it was believed the car had mounted the pavement outside the popular attraction in west London and collided with a number of pedestrians. Officers had arrested a man at the scene and he was now being questioned.

Britain has suffered five attacks blamed on terrorism so far this year, three of which involved vehicles, and the incident in an area packed with tourists at the weekend had prompted concerns that the collision had been a deliberate act.

"The incident is a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident," a police statement said.

RELATED: Car hits pedestrian near London's Natural History Museum

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Car hits pedestrian near London's Natural History Museum
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Car hits pedestrian near London's Natural History Museum
Armed police officers stand in Cromwell Road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Emergency services personell help a person with a bandaged ankle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police officers stand in Cromwell Road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Police officers sit next to a person with a bandaged ankle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand next to a person with a bandaged ankle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A police officer stands at a cordoned off area near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Police officers stand in the road outside the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road outside the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road outside the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road outside the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand next to a person with a bandaged ankle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand next to a person with a bandaged ankle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement injuring a number of pedestrians, police said, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police and forensic officers stand in the road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Emergency services personnel wheel a woman in a wheelchair to a nearby ambulance near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police and forensic officers gather in the road near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Emergency services personnel wheel a woman in a wheelchair to a nearby ambulance near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Armed police officers stand on the pavement near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police officers lean over the bonnet of a police vehicle near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
A police officer carries bags past empty restaurant tables near the Natural History Museum, after a car mounted the pavement, in London, Britain October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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London's ambulance service said they had treated 11 people, mostly for head and leg injuries, with nine taken to hospital. Police said none of the injuries were life-threatening or life-changing.

Unverified footage from the scene showed a man being pinned to the ground by what appeared to be four security guards or police officers.

The Natural History Museum is located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, one of the British capital's most upmarket districts and home to a host of other museums, restaurants as well as university buildings.

It is the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with 4.6 million visits during 2016, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

The collision brought the area to a standstill as police cordoned off a wide area whilst they carried out their investigation.

"My thanks to the first responders at this incident this afternoon and the actions of members of the public. My thoughts are with the injured," Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter.

Britain is on its second highest security alert level, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge killing four before stabbing a police officer to death in the grounds of parliament.

Three Islamist militants drove into people on London Bridge in June before stabbing people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight. The same month, a van was driven into worshippers near a mosque in north London which left one man dead. (Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff)

 

 

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