Vehicle rams through public square in China killing several

Car PLOUGHS into crowd in busy square - three dead and 43 injured

Car PLOUGHS into crowd in busy square - three dead and 43 injured

Nine people were killed and 46 injured after a vehicle rammed into a crowd gathered at a square in Hengdong county, Central China's Hunan province, on Wednesday evening, local authorities said.

The incident took place shortly after 7:30pm local time Wednesday in Hengyang city in Hunan province.

Eyewitness footage uploaded to social media shows multiple bodies strewn across the square with people tending to the injured on the blood-soaked pavement, to the sounds of despairing screams all around.

Initially the government said three people died, but raised the death toll to nine in a statement late on Wednesday.

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The driver, Yang Zanyun, 54, first ploughed through the people with his vehicle and later got out of it and went on a rampage attacking people with a knife. Authorities have no yet given a motive and no official mention of terrorism has been made.

In this image made from video, a nurse performs CPR on an injured person at a hospital in Hengyang in south China's Hunan province. He had previously served several prison sentences for crimes including arson and assault, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such incidents have become less common in recent years amid a stifling security crackdown. Witnesses told news website Thepaper.cn that a red SUV suddenly drove into crowds of people who had been dancing and walking around in the square, causing mass panic. Islamist extremists claimed responsibility for both attacks.

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