Saturday 20 October 2018

'We heard a massive bang... I grabbed the baby' - Irishman at scene after car hit crowd in Melbourne

  • Vehicle ploughs into pedestrians outside Melbourne train station
  • Fourteen injured, including young child who suffered head injuries
  • Police arrest two men following incident
  • Irishman Gareth Flynn describes how civilians helped injured at the scene
  • 'We won't go into the city now with a young baby. We'll stick to the suburbs, it's not worth taking the chance'
Pedestrians walk past as police and emergency services attend the scene of an incident involving a vehicle and pedestrians in Melbourne
Emergency medical workers offer aid to victims struck by a vehicle (Australian Broadcast Corp. via AP)
Local media say over a dozen people have been injured after a car drove into pedestrians on a sidewalk in central Melbourne
A man has been arrested after a car collided with pedestrians outside a major train station
More than a dozen people have been injured, some seriously
More than a dozen people have been injured
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne,
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Emergency cars are seen on the street following the incident outside Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia, December 21, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Malcolm Sheridan/via REUTERS
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

An Irishman has described how people rushed to help the injured, while others sat in shock after a car ploughed through a crowd in Melbourne's city centre.

Fourteen people were injured, including a young child who suffered head injuries, after the car collided with pedestrians outside Flinders Street train station.

Police said they are treating the incident as a "deliberate act" and said they have now arrested two men in connection with the incident.

The incident occurred at around 5pm local time (6am GMT) on Thursday evening.

Meath man Gareth Flynn and his nine-month-old daughter Freddy
Meath man Gareth Flynn and his nine-month-old daughter Freddy

Gareth Flynn, originally from Trim, Co Meath, was in the area with his partner Jade, their baby daughter Freddy and his mother-in-law, who was visiting from Ireland.

He said they missed the incident by just metres.

Emergency medical workers offer aid to victims struck by a vehicle (Australian Broadcast Corp. via AP)
Emergency medical workers offer aid to victims struck by a vehicle (Australian Broadcast Corp. via AP)

"We were walking down towards the junction where the incident happened," he told Independent.ie.

"We were about 20 metres away from the area when we stopped at a shop to get sushi rolls, only for that we would have been right in the middle of it.

"We heard a massive bang, like an explosion, and then people began running towards us.

"I grabbed the baby, our nine-month-old, and my partner and her mum and threw them in behind the counter. People were just running and screaming.

"I ran towards the scene and people were just trying to help those lying on the road.

"Just normal civilians trying to aid the people who had been hit," he continued.

More than a dozen people have been injured, some seriously
More than a dozen people have been injured, some seriously

"More people were running towards the four-wheel drive vehicle to get the driver.

"Within a minute, the state police were running on foot towards the injured. And then the armed police were coming down towards us in cars.

"The fire brigade, ambulance, police were all there trying to help."

Gareth, who has now lived in Australia working as an electrician for six years, described the emergency response as "pretty quick".

A man has been arrested after a car collided with pedestrians outside a major train station
A man has been arrested after a car collided with pedestrians outside a major train station

"People are on top of it this time, emergency services started treating people.

"There were a lot of people just in shock lying on the street, they had just witnessed people flying up in the air.

"He just ploughed through them, people said they thought he was going about 100km/h.

Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia

"People are on high alert now since the last time. The police handled it very well, they let civilians comfort and help the injured until the paramedics came."

Gareth said they have made the decision to avoid the city centre for now.

"It's not what you want coming up to Christmas.

"We won't be going down to the city, you just can't, it's the second time my partner was close to it. She was very close to the incident [in January].

"We won't go into the city now with a young baby. We'll stick to the suburbs, it's not worth taking the chance, we were literally 30 seconds away from being in the middle of it. It's just not worth it. We're a bit shook this evening."

The incident came months after a car struck pedestrians in Melbourne's busiest shopping centre in January, killing six people.

The driver, whose case is still being heard in court, had allegedly been pursued by police on suspicion of stabbing his brother.

After the crash, officials installed concrete bollards in various locations of the city - including Flinders Street -in an attempt to prevent similar incidents.

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