tiananmen square crash
Vehicles travel along Chang'an Avenue as smoke raises in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Reuters

A Tiananmen Square crash was reported Monday during local lunch time. An SUV plowed through dozens of pedestrians and policement before it burst into flames. Earlier, USA Today reported that five were killed in the incident while as many as 38 are injured.

According to China's Xinhua, a state-run press agency, the incident occurred at the national landmark at approximately 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. Reports claim that the SUV had been traveling on the sidewalk for a significant distance, prompting pedestrians to run and scatter. After the SUV had struck a number of bystanders, it eventually ignited in flames. Officials say that a total of 5 victims are confirmed dead, including the three occupants in the SUV. Online speculations suggest the accident may have been a deliberate attack.
Tiananmen Square is one of the most politically charged landmarks in Asia and is also a major tourist draw for China's capital of Beijing. Important officials of China's Communist party live and work by the area as well. What's more, the Tiananmen Square crash and alleged attack also triggered disturbing reminders of Tiananmen Square's volatile past. In 1989, a pro-democracy movement led by college students stirred global concern when the Chinese military infamously suppressed the protest with violence. What's more, protests in 2009 and 2011 involved
protesters that set themselves on fire.
"I was shocked when I heard the news from colleagues," said Chen, a traffic warden that worked close to Tiananmen Gate. "I thought this must be the safest place in China." Chinese officials continue to investigate the incident.
Be sure to watch the video below to learn more about the terrifying Tiananmen Square crash incident.