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A car reportedly plowed into pedestrians at China’s Tiananmen Square Monday afternoon, leaving the three people in the car and two others dead. Reports state that 38 others were injured.
The incident occurred Monday at lunchtime in Beijing. According to USA Today, the driver crashed by the Tiananmen Gate, then the car went up in flames.
According to China’s Xinhua news agency, government officials were at the scene and are currently investigating. The site reports that the five dead included the driver, two passengers, a tourist from the Philippines and another tourist from Japan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was asked if it could have been a terror attack, but she said she didn’t have any further details to provide, notes NBC News.
USA Today notes that because the crash was so unusual, people began speculating online that it was no accident. The car drove along the sidewalk before it hit near a bridge that leads tourists to the well-known Chairman Mao portrait and the Forbidden City. Time notes that the area was quickly barricaded by officials and several photos of the incident disappeared from the web. Some images showed a plume of smoke rising into the air by the iconic landmark.
Tiananmen Square is always under security and the site of the famous 1989 student protests.
image: Wikimedia Commons