Five people have been killed in China’s Tiananmen Square after a car ploughs into the crowd visiting the heart of Beijing.
The crash, which is being investigated by local authorities, also injured dozens of pedestrians after the car bust into flames.
It is unclear whether the out of control car was intentionally trying to hurt those walking the streets of the historic site or it was an accident.
Tiananmen Square is the site of the 1989 pro-democracy protests, which were forcefully crushed by the government and the place were the famous photo of a man standing in front of a tank was taken.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying would not comment when asked whether authorities believed this was a terrorist attack.
The plume of black smoke shooting into the Beijing sky could be seen for miles.
Police said on their official blog the car veered off the road at the north of the square packed with tourists, crossed the barriers, and burst into flames.
The three occupants of the car were killed, according to official reports.
The city of Beijing government said on its website a female tourist from the Philippines and a male tourist from southern Guangdong province were also killed.
— 7NEWS Denver Channel (@DenverChannel) October 28, 2013
In all, 38 were injured, of which three are tourists from the Philippines while the rest come from Japan.
The car crashed almost directly in front of the main entrance of the Forbidden City, where a huge portrait of the founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong is prominently displayed.
Several news outlets are reporting the Chinese government is shutting down the many photos of the crash that have been posted on the internet.
A foreign tourist, who asked to remain anonymous, said she heard an explosion followed by a fire, Reuters reports. This story is developing. More news to come.