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Minivan plows into pedestrians in downtown Shanghai, at least 18 hospitalized

A minivan plowed into pedestrians on a busy Shanghai street Friday morning hospitalizing at least 18 people, local Chinese media reported.

Shanghai police say the crash is believed to be an accident and not an attack and say the driver was smoking while transporting gas tanks through the heart of the Chinese financial hub.

Xinmin Evening News, one of the major newspapers in Shanghai, said at around 9 a.m. a brown van plowed into a sidewalk in downtown Shanghai, knocking down several people waiting to cross the street and hitting a tree. Police have cordoned off the area and fire trucks are on the scene, the paper reported on its official social media account.

Local media reports say the minivan was carrying six people and several tanks of gas when it veered into a sidewalk.

Chinese state media reported at least 18 people were hospitalized after SUV plows into pedestrians in downtown Shanghai. At least three people were seriously injured.

A small fire broke out in the car but has since been extinguished by firefighters.

Videos on social media show people lying unconscious on the pavement next to a Starbucks cafe and firefighters trying to extinguish a blaze inside the van.

Police said in a statement the accident was under further investigation.