London minicab collision sparks major terror alert near Natural History Museum

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A minicab driver sparked a major terror alert when his car ploughed into pedestrians in the heart of one of London's busiest tourist areas, leaving 11 people injured.

People fled for their lives after the black Toyota Prius mounted the pavement close to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in South Kensington on Saturday afternoon.

Video footage posted on Twitter showed a man being restrained on the ground by members of the public after the incident in the heart of the capital's museums district, an area popular with families with young children.

Scotland Yard later confirmed the incident, which occurred shortly after 2.20pm, was "not being treated as a terror-related incident" and a man in his forties had been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and had been taken to a North London police station.

Those hurt were mostly suffering from head or leg injuries, the London Ambulance Service said. The majority of the injured have now been discharged.

Oliver Cheshire, a model and fiance of musician Pixie Lott, was one of those who helped hold the man down after getting out of his Jaguar.

Police officer
Several people were injured after a car collided with pedestrians near the Natural History Museum (Victoria Jones/PA)

He told the MailOnline the man was "screaming", adding: "I got out and grabbed him - three of us grabbed him - and someone phoned the police.

"He was an Uber driver, according to the girls that were in his car. I have never seen anything like it."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Whilst inquiries continue, it is believed a car mounted the pavement and collided with a number of pedestrians.

"The man detained by officers is currently under arrest and is in custody at a north London police station.

"The incident is a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident."

Pictures and footage from the scene in Exhibition Road showed street damage and a massive police presence in the upmarket area, home to the NHM, the Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Some images showed the black Toyota Prius, registered with Transport for London (TfL) as a minicab, had collided with a silver Vauxhall saloon and a Jaguar.

London museum crash
London museum crash

Sophie Parry and Lesley Guinness were on their way to the V&A's Pink Floyd exhibition when they saw the driver of a black vehicle swerve across the road and hit a cyclist.

First aid-trained engineer Ms Parry, 56, said: "We saw a black mini SUV - it suddenly swerved across the road and it appeared to knock a cyclist off their bike, and the cyclist was sort of being carried along on the front of the vehicle across the road and then the black car hit another car - a silver Vauxhall - and it appeared to throw the cyclist off.

"By the time we came across the road two people were helping this person in the road and it looked like they were administering first aid or just comforting them."

Appeal following road traffic collision in South Kensington. Majority of injured... https://t.co/MBMkh4HyPRpic.twitter.com/C8NLtEsCWR

-- Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 7, 2017

Both women said the front of the car was "pretty smashed up" and may have hit some nearby concrete bollards.

The friends said they saw people running away from the scene after three "gunshot-like" bangs rang out a few seconds before the cyclist was struck.

Downing Street had said Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments.

Police say anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Merton Traffic Garage on 020 8543 5157.