Latest: Irishman describes scene of Toronto attack as nine people confirmed dead

Update 10.15pm: An Irishman has described the scene of devastation after a van ploughed into pedestrians in Toronto.

Nine people are dead, while there are at 16 were seriously injured after the white van veered off the street onto the pavement.

David Maher, 24, from Ennis, Co Clare works on Yonge Street, where the incident took place and missed the attack by minutes.

He said: “We heard a lot of sirens and commotion coming from outside our office building just after we had come back from lunch.

“I stepped outside and saw two police cars just outside the building and there was a dead body lying in the gutter.

“You could see shoes, blood and lots of broken glass on the road. It was horrific.

Emergency services close Yonge Street in Toronto. Photo: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

“We had been sitting outside a cafe having lunch right next to where the van went onto the pavement about 10 minutes before it happened.

“It’s terrifying to think how close we could have come to being hit. It’s just awful for all of the people involved to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“My thoughts are with them and their families because I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.

“It’s a really busy part of downtown and because it’s such a beautiful day I’m sure there were even more people out and about on the streets than usual.”

The incident happened near the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue around 1.30 p.m local time on Monday, according to the Toronto Police Service.

Police apprehended a suspect several blocks away and he was taken into custody.

Asked whether this was a terrorist act, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said: “We have no information on that at this point.”

David added: “You could see what looked like the van’s bumper in the middle of the street a bit further up and then dozens of police cars and paramedics.

“Police had cordoned off quite a bit of the area, but it was still pretty chaotic down there because a lot of people didn’t know what was going on.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted from Ottawa: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto."

"Thank you to the first responders working at the scene - we're monitoring the situation closely."

Update 9.40pm: Nine people have died and 16 more were injured after a van jumped a kerb in Toronto.

Acting police chief Peter Yeun referred to it as a "tragic situation". He did not take questions.

He confirmed that nine people died in the incident, while 16 others were injured.

"We know there were casualties," said Mayor John Tory.

He expressed his gratitude for the fast response of the emergency services.

"The city is in safe hands at the moment."

One person is in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

Watch press conference live here:

Update 8.40pm: Driver in custody after van hits at least eight people in Toronto

A van has apparently jumped a kerb at a busy road junction in Toronto and struck eight to 10 people and fled the scene before it was found and the driver taken into custody, police said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the van to strike the pedestrians in the north-central part of the Canadian city.

Police did not immediately identify the driver.

Authorities said at least seven people were treated in hospital while a photo from the scene showed an apparent body on the pavement, but police did not provide details on casualties.

"At this point it's too early to tell what, if any, motive there was. We are also unable right now to tell the extent or the number of persons injured," Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said.

A witness," Phil Zullo, told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting a man who had been driving a Ryder rental truck and saw people "strewn all over the road".

"It must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers," Mr Zullo said. "It was awful. Brutal."

Paramedic spokeswoman Kim McKinnon said first responders were on scene treating multiple patients, but would not confirm the number or severity of injuries.

Police shut down the Yonge and Finch junction following the incident and Toronto's transit agency said it has suspended service on the subway line running through the area.

Emergency services close Yonge Street in Toronto. Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press via AP

The incident occurred as cabinet ministers from major industrial countries gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved. "Our hearts go out to everyone affected," he said in Ottawa.

"We are going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours."

Update 7.40pm: Police in Toronto have said the driver is in custody.

Paramedic spokeswoman Kim McKinnon said first responders are on scene treating multiple patients but would not confirm the number or severity of injuries.

Police have shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident and Toronto's transit agency said it has suspended service on the subway line running through the area.

Local media reports suggest a number of fatalities.

Earlier: Van hits at least eight people in Toronto

A van has struck at least eight people in Toronto, police have said, but the cause of the incident and the extent of the injuries are not yet known.

Authorities said the white van hit a crowd of pedestrians in north Toronto.

Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said the van apparently jumped the kerb, but the reason is not yet known.

The incident occurred on Monday as cabinet ministers from the G7 countries were gathered in the Canadian city to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.

More to follow.


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