Europe

Taxi ploughs into pedestrians in Moscow injuring eight

Damaged taxi in Moscow on 16 June 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The car came to a halt after hitting a lamppost

At least eight pedestrians, including some Mexican World Cup fans, were injured after a taxi mounted a crowded pavement in central Moscow.

CCTV footage posted on social media showed the car veer out of a queue of stationary traffic and accelerate into pedestrians before coming to a halt.

The driver then fled, pursued by several passers-by.

Moscow police said the driver was a 28-year-old national of Kyrgyzstan who had been taken into custody.

They released a video of the man being questioned in which he says he had been at the wheel for more than 20 hours when the crash happened and had pressed the accelerator by mistake.

"I wanted to brake, I wanted to let someone through," he says, while visibly upset. "I switched off for a second and hit the accelerator.... then I saw the people."

He said he fled because he thought the crowd of people "were going to kill" him.

But one witness, who was across the road at the time of the crash, said it did not appear to be accidental.

"I have the feeling that he did it deliberately because he was in the traffic jam with the cars going really slowly," said Viktoria Geranovich, "How could he lose control of the wheel, push the gas and drive into the crowds?"

She said "mostly girls" were knocked down, but people rushed to help and the ambulance arrived quickly. "Thank god everything went well. It's scary that this happened in the very centre."

Image copyright Reuters

An unidentified official said of the injured: "Seven of them are in a satisfactory condition and one woman is in a moderate condition."

The incident happened not far from the Kremlin and Red Square, an area packed with tourists.

Russia is currently hosting the World Cup, and promised "unprecedented" security measures in all cities hosting the games.

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