‘All you could hear was hits and screams’: Horror in Melbourne’s CBD
Witnesses have described hearing screams and seeing bodies "thrown into the air" after a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station.
Witness Jim owns a bake shop on Flinders Street and said the incident happened on one of the busiest corners in Melbourne.
"He seemed to be travelling at about 80-100 kilometres [per hour] down Flinders Street in a westerly direction," he said.
"The intersection was full of pedestrians and he ploughed through pedestrians.
"The only thing slowing him down was him hitting pedestrians.
"It was packed. Our stores was packed. The pedestrians crossing the road, it was completely packed.
"It was, like, solid with people … all you could hear was the sounds of the hits and the screams.
"All you could hear was, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang."
Jim said by coincidence he was already calling emergency services when the vehicle ploughed through the area.
"Funnily enough there was some drug-addled gentleman next to the store so I was ringing triple-0 for him so, I hung up but there were ambulances or police cars in attendance," he said.
Witness John said:
"It was just a horrific scene. Bodies were just thrown into the air."
Sri Maragari was at work in the kitchen at Rocket Burgers at the time.
"At first I could hear the noise and it sounded like a gunshot — then people started shouting," he said.
"I just went out and all the people were lying on the ground, and I could see a white car at the Flinders Street tram stop and 10 to 15 people were really badly injured."
Another man who was at Flinders Street at the time, David, said: "I heard the engine rev, I heard the first bump, I turned around, because it was behind me at that point and I just saw it ploughing through the rest of the pedestrians".
David said fellow pedestrians rushed to offer assistance.
"I suppose all credit to the people of Melbourne, each person who was down, there was probably about six to eight of them, there was probably about three to four people assisting to get them into the correct positions and make sure that they were OK," he said.
"Then there was probably about another six to eight people who immediately jumped at the car and started pulling the driver out of the car."
David said he was on the phone with emergency services giving updates on those who were injured.
"Four of them were conscious, so talking and breathing, and the other two were unconscious but they didn't have any real significant injuries that I could see, but obviously I can't see what sort of internal injuries they [had]," he said.
'It could have been us'
Nicola was waiting for a train at Flinders Street Station.
"We heard a big bang and screaming, I can't remember what came first, the screams or the bangs, and the platform inspector ran out to see what had happened," she said.
"I could just see dust rising, we were told to not go out of the station.
"It sounded as though there could be a bomb, but then people who were there came running into the station, saying that a vehicle had ploughed through pedestrians."
External Link: @abcnews: "There was a big bang, and lots of screaming… I thought it might be a bomb. There was lots of dust rising," Eyewitness Nicola speaks about what she saw at #Flinders St. Station
She said people were not sure what to do after they heard the crash.
"I saw a 60-year-old man who was hysterical — he was ringing his wife and couldn't believe what he had seen and had just missed out on being involved in it," she said.
"And another lady was hysterical because like all of us, it could have been us.
"We had just entered the station in the last few minutes and those people [who were injured] were unlucky enough to be crossing the road to the station at that time."
Nicola said despite her close call, she would not be deterred from enjoying the city.
"I love living here and it won't stop me from going into the city, but I was at work at one of the hospitals when the Bourke Street incident happened and heard it all unfolding from up there in Parkville, and sadly this seems like a very similar incident, innocent people caught up going about their business," she said.
Isaac, who works in the area, did not see the incident unfold but could hear the crowd's reaction.
"I was heading to my office on Flinders Street and the impact I actually heard inside my office, then the next thing I heard screaming and came running straight outside," he said.
"I just saw a car with — it looked like it was bit busted up, and some pedestrians sprawled out all over the concrete — it was pretty shocking to see, that's for sure."
He was not sure how many people had been injured.
"I did see at least three — that's because there were so many people around and attending to the ones that were hit so yeah — I didn't know what was going on in front of that," he said.
"I don't even want to try and think of it."
John said he hoped what he heard on Flinders Street was not the SUV colliding with prams.
"I saw a car, a SUV coming at high speed and really just heard the collision with people with bags and what must be shopping trolleys — and I hope not prams," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
"I've really never seen anything like this before and I haven't stopped shaking."
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