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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
It'd be hard to find another country that has spent as much, and as furiously, as China on giving its next generation a head start.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0532 GMT (1332 HKT)
In 1985, Meng Weina set up China's first private special needs school in the southern city of Guangzhou.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
Despite China's inexorable economic rise, the U.S. is still an indispensable ally, especially in Asia. No one knows this more than the Asian giant's leaders, writes Kerry Brown.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
For the United States and China to announce a plan reducing carbon emissions by almost a third by the year 2030 is a watershed moment for climate politics on so many fronts.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
China shows off its new stealth fighter jet, but did it steal the design from an American company? Brian Todd reports.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
Airshow China in Zhuhai provides a rare glimpse of China's military and commercial aviation hardware.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A new exchange initiative aims to bridge relations between the two countries .
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
Xi and Abe's brief summit featured all the enthusiasm of two unhappy schoolboys forced to make up after a schoolyard dust-up.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
Maybe you've decided to show your partner love with a new iPhone. But how about 99 of them?
November 3, 2014 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)
Can China's Muslim minority fit in? One school is at the heart of an ambitious experiment to assimilate China's Uyghurs.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of thousands of Americans learning Chinese.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says he needs to maintain good economic ties with China while trying to keep Beijing's push for reunification at bay.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
Chinese drone-maker DJI wants to make aerial photography drones mainstream despite concerns about privacy.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general confesses to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in war on corruption.