Flinders St attack: Bodies were ‘thrown like rag dolls’
IT was 15 seconds of horror where people were "being thrown like rag dolls".
Witnesses described the chaos of seeing people "flying into the air" while others dodged the car and ran for their lives.
Then two final loud thuds.
One last person was hit and then the car hit the tram stop bringing the ordeal to an end.
But a trail of destruction was left on the streets.
Melburnians united in the middle of Flinders St to help the injured on one of the city's busiest crossings filled with more than 100 Christmas shoppers, workers, and tourists.
Lachlan Read said when he first heard thumping noises, he thought it was a tram.
"But when I turned around there was no tram - it was car just hitting people," the 20-year-old said.
"He had gone straight through the red light at pace and it was bang, bang, bang. It was just one after the other. The last bang the car stopped.
"There were bodies on the ground and people running up to them - it was mayhem.
"It is definitely something you don't expect to see on Flinders St at 4.45pm."
Another witness who called triple-0 said: "I saw people scramble away and saw some being thrown like rag dolls."
Lawyer Sam Dempster was walking along Flinders St outside Fitness First when he saw the driver speed up, hit pedestrians and heard "shocking sounds" as they landed.
"I saw the car driving down Flinders St and it sped up. I looked up and it just mowed through all these people,'' he said.
"I saw people flying in the air and bodies hit the ground, they weren't moving.
"People were lying on the ground and people were like, 'holy s---'."
Two witnesses told the Herald Sun how they saw a white Suzuki hit a number of pedestrians crossing over Flinders St.
"The driver was speeding, it was horrific, I can't believe it," one witness said, who was shaken and crying.
"There was people's bodies on the ground. I didn't know what to think."
Sue Nicolaidis was working at Walker's Donuts when she heard a loud noise and a car screeching down Flinders St.
"We heard this noise and we looked up then we just heard bang, bang, bang and people flying everywhere," she said. "There was just people on the ground, not moving - it is just like a nightmare."
A witness who wished to remain anonymous, said she saw people on the ground "not moving".
"There was bodies everyone and people just trying to help," she said.
"I'm snaked. I can't believe it. I feel sick. I feel helpless. I don't know what to do.
"I just hope they're OK. My heart hurts for their families."
Mr Dempster said a nearby witness ran over to the speeding car and tried to grab the driver.
"I saw some guy in a white shirt run up to the car and he grabbed the driver's side door. I think he grabbed the driver and held him in the car,'' he said.
"It was such an opportunistic thing to do, the street was absolutely packed with people.
"Then suddenly there were police cars and ambulances everywhere. Everyone was on their phones probably trying to call emergency services."
Another witness, Lachlan, who took the video below of a man believed to the driver, said he'd been at the sushi shop up the road before he rushed down at full sprint.
"I checked out a few of the people, there were people putting things on their head to stop the bleeding," he said.
Lachlan said the apparent driver, dressed in blue jeans and a white T-shirt, appeared to be unconscious.
"They dragged him through the passenger side door so he couldn't have been the passenger," he said.
"In one of the videos you can see the police trying to wake him up.
"I was there before the police arrived.
"When I arrived it looked there were two or three people in the car."
The car was described as "banged up" with its windscreen shattered and driver side door heavily damaged.
Mothers running with their children to safety trying to shield them from the bloody streets and wild screaming.
Mr Read said the carnage was done in 15 to 20 seconds.
"It was worst than something you would see in a movie," he said.
Markus Nimo, who works at Happy Travels directly across the road from the scene, said he saw about six people "scattered" across the bitumen.
"I saw people starting to run for their lives and then there was a big bang," he said.
"Everybody was screaming and crying.
"There were bodies all over the road and then a man was dragged out of a SUV, it all happened so quickly."
When asked if he could describe the man arrested he said: "All I saw was a little kid with his head covered in blood."
Other witness have told how it "sounded like an explosion" while others recounted the engine revving and then the driver "gunned the car and accelerated into the intersection".
James Unkles said he was approaching the Flinders and Elizabeth streets intersection when he saw a flash of white and heard a thud.
"People were flying everywhere," he said.
"I immediately had to turn back because police were everywhere trying to get control of the scene.
"It was chaos everywhere you looked."
Elton Hindoli, who works at a bottle shop by the scene of the incident in Elizabeth St, said a man who was pulled from the car appeared to be unconscious.
"A girl came into the shop and she was very upset," he said.
"She said a guy in a big car had hit about six people.
"It wasn't clear if the driver was hitting them on purpose or not.
"It sounded like the man who they took out of the car was not awake.
"He hit the people then crashed into the tram area in the middle of the road."
Vince was working in a shop at Flinders Street Station and rushed to the scene before emergency services arrived.
One witness was ordering coffee when she says she saw a white car with at least two men in it randomly ploughing into people.
The woman recalls hearing gunshots.
"If it wasn't gunshots I don't know what it was," she said.
The witness said she thought she was going to die, saying she didn't know what may be coming next.
One witness has said at least two men were in a white car at the scene. Another witness said police ripped one man out of the car.
Another witness says police quickly swarmed the driver's car, dragging him out.
The driver's car door, windscreen is also heavily damaged.
One lady, who was uncontrollably shaking, described Christmas as "ruined".
The witness says she saw one man with severe head injuries, and recalled another person screaming.
Another man, speaking outside Spencer St police station where witnesses gathered to give statements, told reporters the car ploughed through a red light at the intersection.
He believed the vehicle was speeding.
He said people immediately scrambled to help each other and praised emergency services for their "really quick, good" response.
But he was clear there was no gun fired: "There was not gun shots, definitely not."
Children from a daycare centre were evacuated, with parents rushing to pick them up.
Passengers were pulled off trams in the aftermath as the busy road came to a standstill as police continued their investigation throughout the night.
"There's been a catastrophic incident in the city ... it's bad, it's very bad. Please be careful everyone," one tram driver told passengers.