A car struck pedestrians in New York’s Times Square on Thursday, causing multiple injuries in one of the most popular tourists spots in Manhattan, police and an AFP photographer said.
More than 10 people appeared to have been hurt as ambulances and police cars descended on the area, the photographer said. “Preliminarily it looks more like a vehicle accident than anything else,” a New York police spokesman told AFP.
Police confirmed only that there were “multiple injuries.”
The vehicle was on fire, the AFP photographer said. A maroon sedan vehicle lay partially upended on its side on the sidewalk with smoke and isolated flames spewing out of the hood, photographs on social media showed.
Times Square is typically packed with tourists and office workers. It lies in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and leads to Broadway, New York’s famed theater district.
A witness told Reuters news agency they saw seven people being loaded onto stretchers, shoes scattered around the scene and one person covered in a bloodstained blanket.
An injured pedestrian told Reuters the driver’s actions appeared to have been “intentional”.
Fox News said one of its contacts at the New York Police Department (NYPD) told them the driver may have committed a robbery.
The network said a 26-year-old is in custody.
Pictures on CBS News network showed a man the station said was the suspect being bundled into a police vehicle by several officers.
It ended up partly on its side outside the Swatch shop, at the corner of Broadway and W 45th St in one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.
One picture showed what appeared to be a dead woman in the middle of a pedestrianised area with a broken off wing mirror lying next to her.
One witness told Fox News: “The car was driving the wrong direction up Broadway before mounting the sidewalk.
“It seemed the driver was intent on causing maximum damage.”
Despite that, police sources told new agencies that a terrorism link is not suspected.
The NYPD tweeted: “One male in custody in the #TimesSquare vehicle collision. It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation.”
The AP news agency said the driver is being tested for alcohol and the New York Times said it had been told by a police source that the man who has been arrested appeared to have been on drink or drugs.
The White House says that President Trump has been “made aware” of what has happened.
More than 300,000 people pass through Times Square every day.