The Latest: Police believe Shanghai crash was accidental

SHANGHAI — The Latest on a vehicle crash in Shanghai (all times local):

5 p.m.

Officials say a minivan hauling gas canisters whose driver ignited his vehicle while smoking plowed into pedestrians near a prominent park and burst into flames in downtown Shanghai on Friday, injuring 18 people in the heart of the Chinese financial hub.

Police appeared to dismiss fears that the crash was a deliberate attack, describing it as an accident caused when the driver lost control and veered onto the sidewalk.

The 40-year-old driver and two other people suffered serious injuries. Police say the driver works for a Shanghai metals company and had no criminal record but is now under suspicion for transporting dangerous materials.

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12:30 p.m.

Shanghai police say a minivan crash downtown 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.

Eighteen people were sent to hospitals for treatment after the Friday morning crash, with three reported to be seriously injured.

The city government said the van veered onto a sidewalk and burst into flames around 9 a.m. near People's Park.

Local media reported the vehicle was carrying six people and several tanks of gas.

Videos on social media showed injured people lying on the pavement next to a Starbucks cafe.

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11:30 a.m.

A minivan has plowed into a busy pedestrian area in downtown Shanghai, hospitalizing 18 people.

Local media reports say the vehicle was carrying six people and several tanks of gas when it veered into a sidewalk near People's Park in central Shanghai. The cause is under investigation.

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.

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