Six killed as lorry mows down Christmas shoppers 'like pinballs' in Glasgow

Emergency services personnel walk past a refuse truck that crashed into pedestrians in George Square, Glasgow, in Scotland on Monday. Six people were killed, police said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Emergency services personnel walk past a refuse truck that crashed into pedestrians in George Square, Glasgow, in Scotland on Monday. Six people were killed, police said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP/REUTERS) -  Six people were killed when a rubbish lorry ran out of control and careered down a pavement crowded with Christmas shoppers in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, people, police said, in what appeared to be a tragic accident.

“Sadly, six people have died as a result of the George Square major road incident,” Police Scotland said on Twitter.

One eyewitness described the vehicle knocking people down "like pinballs" as it veered out of control over a distance of around 300, only stopping when it crashed into the side of a hotel.

"There have been a number of fatalities and people injured," a police statement said, adding that emergency services were at the scene and it had been declared a "major incident".

The area is close to fairground attractions and an ice rink set up for the Christmas holiday.

Some British media reported that the driver may have suffered a heart attack. The spokesman said he was being treated in hospital, without giving any further details.

"The bin lorry just lost control. It went along the pavement, knocking everyone like pinballs," eyewitness Melanie Greg told Sky News.

"People were trying to run out of the way but when something was coming out behind them like that, how can they run out of the way?"

She added: "There was noise, bangs, screams and everything. It was just horrific." The rubbish truck, owned by Glasgow City Council, mounted the pavement and hit the first pedestrian outside the Gallery of Modern Art on Queen Street at about 2:30 pm (8.30 pm Singapore time), police said.

It struck several more as it continued at speed for another two blocks, crashing at the Millennium Hotel on George Square, near Queen Street station.

The incident took place the day after a driver with psychiatric problems in the French town of Dijon ploughed into pedestrians, injuring 13. He was later arrested.

Scottish police said there was nothing "sinister" about the Glasgow incident, calling it an accident.

"It is a road traffic collision with multiple fatalities," the spokesman said, adding: "It does not look to be a criminal or deliberate attack."

The accident happened near the Scottish city's main shopping hub, where shoppers filled the streets just three days before Christmas Day.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was being kept informed of developments, while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "My thoughts with everyone involved in dreadful George Square incident".

Just over a year ago, eight people were killed and 14 others seriously injured when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a packed Glasgow pub.