Van plows into crowd in Barcelona, deaths reported

Van plows into crowd in Barcelona, deaths reported
Posted at 11:45 AM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 08:15:33-04

(RNN) - A van ran over several people in Las Ramblas, a promenade in Barcelona and a large tourist attraction.

Local news outlets are reporting two dead, according to Sky News.

CNN reported that two armed men fled, leaving a white van at the scene. They ran into a nearby restaurant, where witnesses said they heard gunfire.

The Associated Press reports the two men are "holed up in a bar."

According to El Pais in Spain, authorities are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Spanish police called the incident a "massive crash," and urge people to stay away from the are around Placa Catalunya, one of the most visited sites in Barcelona. 

Downtown areas have been evacuated.

At least a dozen emergency response teams are treating the injured. Reports on social media show many people on the ground.

Las Ramblas is a pedestrian mall that stretches about 3/4 of a mile through the city, connecting Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell on the Mediterranean.

A 20-year-old student who lives in Barcelona told the BBC, "There was a loud noise and everybody ran for cover. There were a lot of people, lots of families (at the site)... I think several people were hit. It was horrible. There was panic. Terrible."

People are sheltering in nearby cafes and shops. Esparcia said he was taking cover inside a Starbucks.

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