Taxi driver plows into World Cup fans on crowded street

WARNING, DISTURBING CONTENT: At least seven people have been injured after a taxi driver apparently lost control of his car and plowed into a crowded footpath on the third day of the World Cup in Russia.

CCTV footage distributed on social media showed the yellow cab turning right as it tried to pass some standing traffic on a one-way street.

It accelerated as it reached the crowded pavement and drove a few meters, running down a group of pedestrians before hitting a traffic sign and coming to a sharp halt.

Two passersby immediately tried to confront the driver by trying to jam open his door.

The cabbie eventually jumped out and began running away. The clip ended with the crowd chasing the man down a side street.

Ambulance and police attend the scene near Red Square in Moscow. Source: Moscow Traffic Control Center Press Service via AP

Moscow city authorities identified the driver as a 28-year-old national of the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan who was taken into police custody for questioning.

“According to preliminary information, seven people requested medical assistance,” the Moscow police department said in a statement.

“The preliminary cause of the accident is that the driver lost control of the vehicle.”

Police released no further official information.

An eyewitness account from the police station published on a Russian Telegram channel showed the driver sitting handcuffed on a bench and looking dazed.

He is quoted as telling the police that he had been working for more than two days straight driving World Cup tourists and had accidentally stepped on the gas.

The incident occurred about 200 metres (650 feet) from Red Square with Moscow packed with foreign football fans snapping pictures of the Kremlin.

ITAR-TASS and other Russian news agencies later quoted the Moscow health department as saying eight people were hurt.

“Seven of them are in satisfactory condition and one woman is in moderate condition,” an unidentified Moscow health department official was quoted as saying.

The RIA Novosti news agency cited an unidentified source as saying that two Mexicans and two citizens of Azerbaijan were hurt.

The damaged taxi is towed away from the scene. Source: Reuters

Police closed the street for about an hour before opening it back up to traffic.

Security has been a top concern heading into the June 14 to July 15 tournament.

At least 600,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit Russia during the most watched event in the world.

The incident occurred shortly after Argentina and Iceland finished playing to a 1-1 draw in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium some 13 kilometres northwest of Red Square.