Police say multiple pedestrians struck by van in Toronto


NINE people died yesterday when a van was driven at high speed into several groups of pedestrians in Canada.

A white rental van with a dented front bumper was stopped on the sidewalk of a major intersection, surrounded by police vehicles. "Apparently he drove down further and he went into a sidewalk by the next building and he hit more people there and he just kept going". Authorities have also confirmed that there are 16 people injured.

The incident occurred just before 1.30pm (1730 GMT) as large crowds of office workers were on lunch breaks.

Canada's minister for public safety, Ralph Goodale was asked at the G7 meeting whether the government had received any threats or information to suggest that the talks might be targeted.

Fifteen people remained in hospitals throughout the city, Saunders said, adding that local, provincial and federal investigators were probing the case.

In a statement, Ryder, the company from which the van was rented, said it was co-operating fully with authorities.

Nick Santa, who was studying at a nearby Starbucks coffee shop, told Global TV News the driver appeared to be in control of the vehicle.

Police cordoned off several city blocks and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) sent an alert, saying that there is no subway service between Sheppard and Finch Stations.

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At the scene, at least three bodies could be seen under orange sheets and a long stretch of road was sealed off with police incident tape.

Another 15 people are believed to have been injured on the corner of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, where the van mounted a pavement and mowed down pedestrians. They are said to be in critical condition.

"I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers", Zullo said.

"He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one", Alex Shaker, who was driving down Yonge Street, told CTV News.

Emergency services close Yonge Street in Toronto after the deadly incident.

After the tragedy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters: "Obviously we're just learning of the situation in Toronto".

A Toronto paramedic spokeswoman said first responders were on scene treating multiple patients, but wouldn't confirm the number or severity of injuries. "Our hearts go out to anyone affected", he said. "I hope that we will, as a city, remind ourselves of the fact that we are admired around the world for being inclusive and for being accepting and understanding and considerate", Tory said at a news conference on Monday's attack.