By Charlie Campbell / Beijing
Updated: February 1, 2018 11:50 PM ET | Originally published: February 2, 2018

At least 18 people were injured after a minivan rammed into pedestrians near a Starbuck’s coffee shop in downtown Shanghai on Friday morning.

Amateur video footage showed bodies strewn along a sidewalk on Nanjing West Road as emergency services rushed casualties to hospital.

Police said they believed the 9.15 am crash was caused by the 40-year old driver, surnamed Chen, smoking inside the van, accidentally setting gas canisters he was carrying alight.

Eyewitnesses reported several people trapped under the van, which was seen smoldering after crashing against a tree.

The Shanghai government said three of the injured are in critical condition. Starbucks has at least 600 shops in Shanghai.

“A car plowed into pedestrians in downtown Shanghai Friday morning, leaving 18 hospitalized, 3 of them severely injured, local authorities say. Cause is still under investigation,” China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported.

This is a developing story.

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