5 dead after jeep crashes and catches fire in Beijing's Tiananmen Square
October 28, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
- NEW: The driver, two passengers and two tourists are dead, according to authorities
- NEW: 38 people are injured, state media reports, and 11 were taken to the hospital
- The vehicle hit the guardrail of a bridge and burst into flames, Xinhua reports
- The fire has been put out, but the area remains under a heavy police presence
Beijing (CNN) -- Five people are dead after a jeep plowed into a crowded part of Tiananmen Square and caught fire Monday, authorities said.
The crash temporarily blocked off a busy area in the heart of the Chinese capital as rescuers and police rushed to the scene.
Police said the crash happened around noon local time in front of the Tiananmen Rostrum, a structure that stands at the entrance to the Forbidden City bearing a giant portrait of Mao Zedong.
The vehicle hit the guardrail of the Jinshui Bridge over the moat of the Forbidden City before it burst into flames, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
The driver of the jeep and two passengers were killed, Beijing police said in a statement. The other two fatalities were tourists -- a Filipino woman and a Chinese man, according to state media reports. At least 38 people were injured, state media said. Eleven injured people, a mixture of tourists and police officers, have been taken to the hospital, Xinhua said.
Photographs circulating on social media showed a vehicle engulfed in flames in Tiananmen Square. CNN wasn't immediately able to verify the authenticity of the images.
Authorities moved quickly to tackle the blaze and clear up the scene. But the cause of the deadly crash remained unclear.
Around 2:30 p.m., authorities were barring tourists from entering the area in front of the Tiananmen Rostrum and the center of Tiananmen Square. Both areas are usually packed with mostly Chinese tourists.
Dozens of police vans, along with uniformed and plainclothes officers, were gathered at the site of the crash. Workers scrubbed the concrete, and there was no sign of the vehicle or any residue from the fire.
The Tiananmen East subway station and part of the Tiananmen West station were temporarily closed, the subway operator said. Roads in the area soon reopened, and traffic was flowing normally by midafternoon.
Tiananmen Square is China's most politically sensitive landmark as a result of the events of June 4, 1989, when government forces opened fire on civilians to quash pro-democracy demonstrations.
The square is often closed or put under heightened security before and during major events.
The previous noteworthy case of a vehicle catching fire in the area was in February 2009, when three people tried to set themselves on fire after police stopped them just east of the square.
Two of those three people, petitioners from out of town, were injured in that blaze.
CNN's David McKenzie and Steven Jiang reported from Beijing, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong.
Part of complete coverage on
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0414 GMT (1214 HKT)
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT)
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 0812 GMT (1612 HKT)
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
Today's five most popular stories