Terrifying moment a van crashes into a café terrace in Brussels, injuring six people before the driver flees
This is the terrifying moment a van slammed into people sitting outside a cafe in Brussels at “extremely high speed”, injuring six people.
Video shows the suspect driving a van into the seating area outside a crowded cafe in the center of the Belgian capital on Friday afternoon at around 1:00 p.m. local time (1100 GMT).
Six people were slightly injured and photos from the scene in Rue Saint-Michel show tables and chairs strewn on the ground outside the cafe.
The driver did not stop after hitting the victims and fled in the van, which was found abandoned by police on a nearby street around 2 p.m.
Police arrested the suspect, 48, in the city of Antwerp, 45 km north of Brussels, around two hours later, local media reported. Prosecutors said the man, who has not yet been named, is being questioned by police.
Witnesses told Radio 1 they saw the van heading towards the cafe at “dizzying speed while rocking side to side”. A witness said he and his girlfriend “had to jump for our lives” to avoid being run over by the van.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said an investigation was still ongoing to determine if there was a motive behind the incident and that ” there are several paths open”.
Video shows the suspect driving a van into the seating area outside a cafe in central Brussels on Friday afternoon around 1 p.m. local time
Six people were injured and footage from the scene shows tables and chairs strewn on the ground outside the cafe
Six people were slightly injured and photos from the scene in Rue Saint-Michel show tables and chairs strewn on the ground outside the cafe
“At this time, several leads are still open and are being investigated,” the spokeswoman said. “The facts are reminiscent of attacks like abroad. But another track is that it is a normal traffic accident or another reason”.
The British Embassy in Belgium said it was aware of the incident near the Rue Neuve pedestrian street and urged Britons in the area to follow “official guidelines”.
Belgian authorities initially raised the terror threat level from two to three – that is, severe – in the city, but have since reduced it to level two, reports HLN.
Philippe Close, the mayor of Brussels, told the The evening newspaper that the van had entered rue Saint-Michel “at an extremely high speed and was aiming for the terrace”.
The van sped down Rue Saint-Michel – which runs perpendicular to Rue Neuve, one of Brussels’ main pedestrian streets and a busy shopping mall.
CCTV from outside the cafe shows diners sitting on the terrace before the white van sped towards them.
The van is seen crashing into the tables in front of the bar ‘Le Corbeau’ and ‘City Pizza’, with some diners managing to move away at the last second.
A witness told Radio 1: ‘We were just enjoying the terrace. The terraces were full. Suddenly, a white van arrived at breakneck speed, rocking side by side. We had to jump against the wall.
Another witness said TRV: ‘The driver drove from left to right on the street and crashed into everything he encountered. We, my girlfriend and I had to jump to save our lives.
He added: “It was deliberate. He wanted to hit everything in his path. It was panic. People were screaming and screaming. I saw that some people were also injured. Most of them were in shock. I myself was in shock. It was terrible.’
Six people were slightly injured but none of the victims were taken to hospital.
CCTV from outside the cafe shows diners sitting on the terrace before the white van sped towards them. The van is seen ramming into the tables, with some diners managing to jump out of the way at the last second
The van is seen ramming into the tables, with some diners managing to jump out of the way
Police officers stand guard outside the cafe after a van driver entered the outdoor terrace
Pictured: A policeman stands outside the cafe in Brussels after a van drove through the terrace
Police found the van abandoned on Rue du Méridien, less than a mile from where it crashed on the terraces. Reports say the driver hit another car there, but there were no reports of other injuries.
Specialized officers from the Belgian army’s bomb disposal unit check the van for explosions as a precaution.
Witnesses have now been taken to the local police station as officers investigate the incident. It was not immediately clear how the driver got to Antwerp.
“They are tourists, city employees, residents and Belgians visiting the capital,” Mayor Close said of the victims. Local official Walter Derieuw later said, “Firefighters and emergency services have left the scene.”
Police said it was too early to speculate whether the driver deliberately targeted diners.
This is a last minute news, others will follow…