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Nine people killed and driver, 68, arrested after car crashes into crowds

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Nine people have died after a car crashed into crowds of people in the South Korean capital city.

The crash happened close to Seoul city hall at around 9.30pm local time (1.30pm BST) on Monday after a car hit a number of people waiting at a traffic light.

The car drove in the wrong direction and hit two other cars before hitting the pedestrians.

Six people were found dead at the scene, while three others later died from their injuries in hospital, and a further four people were injured, one seriously.

The nine victims are yet to be identified, and police have warned that the number of casualties could increase.

The driver, a 68-year-old man, was arrested at the scene and South Korean media reports suggest he spoke of a sudden, unintended acceleration.

Emergency workers and vehicles are seen near a car that was involved in an accident, which left at least nine people dead, in Seoul late on July 1, 2024. At least nine people were killed and four others were injured when a car struck pedestrians near Seoul city hall on July 1, police said. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
The car was towed away by police (Picture: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Xinhua/Shutterstock (14566754b) This photo taken on July 1, 2024 shows the site of a traffic accident in Seoul, South Korea. Six people had been confirmed dead and eight others injured in a traffic accident in South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported Monday. A major vehicle accident took place at about 9:30 p.m. local time (1230 GMT) near an intersection of the Seoul City Hall. South Korea Seoul Traffic Accident - 01 Jul 2024
The crash happened at a busy intersection (Picture: Xinhua/Shutterstock)
Police and rescuers stand next to a car involved in accident that resulted in several people killed and injured in central Seoul, South Korea July 1, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A large cordon was put in place (Picture: REUTERS)
Police officers investigate a car accident scene near Seoul City Hall in downtown Seoul, South Korea, early Tuesday, July 2, 2024. A car hit pedestrians waiting at a traffic light in central Seoul on Monday evening, killing nine people and injuring four, South Korea's emergency officials said. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Fencing was seriously damaged by the impact of the crash (Picture: AP)

Kim Suk-hwan, safety and transport director at the city’s Jung-gu district office, said an investigation into the cause of the incident is now underway.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon visited the crash site and described it as ‘a very sad accident’.

He also ordered officials to ‘take the victims to the hospital quickly and thoroughly identify the cause of the accident’.

Two other cars were damaged in the crash, with pictures showing damaged fencing and shattered glass over the pavement.

The car involved, with its front crumpled, was towed away by police.

In 2022, pedestrians in South Korea accounted for 35% of all road deaths – a high share compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, the agency reported.

But in the same report, it was noted that road fatalities in the country had declined in recent years.

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