Police name driver of burning van that injures 18 in Shanghai Starbucks crash

Man behind wheel was smoking while illegally transporting gas cylinders

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 11:38am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 February, 2018, 5:04pm

Eighteen people were injured, three of them seriously, after a minivan crashed into a crowd of people in front of a Starbucks outlet in a bustling area of Shanghai on Friday morning.

The champagne-coloured vehicle was on fire before mounting the pavement and crashing into a fence in front of the cafe on West Nanjing Road about 9am, local media reported.

The driver was identified by police as a 40-year-old man surnamed Chen, who was among those injured. All of the others hurt were pedestrians, though no one was said to be in a critical condition.

According to an initial investigation the driver is thought to have been illegally transporting gas bottles and was smoking at the time of the crash. Police also said that the vehicle was carrying six people.

The incident happened close to the gate 7 entrance to Shanghai People’s Park and near to several municipal government buildings.

The Shanghai government confirmed the number of casualties on its official Weibo account.

All of the injured were rushed to hospital for treatment, it said, adding that the fire in the minivan had been put out.

It did not give any further details.

Videos shared on Weibo showed the aftermath of the incident, the cause of which is under investigation.

A witness, identified only by her surname Qian, said that immediately after the crash, passers-by rushed to the vehicle and used stones to break a window to free the driver, Shanghai-based news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

“I think the driver had passed out. People had to break the window to save him,” Qian said.

Another witness said: “There were gas cylinders in the vehicle. The van was burning but the cylinders did not catch fire.”

A passer-by wrote in a WeChat post that several people were trapped under the van after the incident.