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Police say 8-year-old girl has died after pedestrians struck in London, Ont.


An eight-year-old girl died and several children were injured after a vehicle in London, Ont., hit a group of pedestrians that included several Girl Guides, officials said Wednesday. 

Const. Sandasha Bough, a spokeswoman with London police, said the 10 pedestrians were walking together on Tuesday evening when they were hit. 

The group ranged in age from six to 40, police said. One adult and five children remained in hospital Wednesday, with the adult and four of the children listed in fair condition and the other child in good condition, police said.

A teen and two children were also treated for minor injuries, but have since been released from hospital, the force said.

Investigators have said there was nothing to immediately indicate that what happened was an intentional act. 

"We are sending our condolences to absolutely everybody who was involved in last night's incident. Family members, friends, first responders ... it's a tragic incident," Bough said.

The Girl Guides of Canada said its members were among the pedestrians involved in the crash. 

"Girl Guides of Canada is in contact with local volunteers to provide any support we can and we will help London Police Service in any way possible in their investigation," the organization said in a written statement. 

Police said emergency crews responded to reports of a serious collision at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday involving multiple vehicles and pedestrians.

It appears a vehicle hit another vehicle that was stopped at a traffic light, then potentially struck a second vehicle before continuing through the intersection, police said. It then collided with a streetlight, a small tree and the group of pedestrians, Bough said.

The driver of the original vehicle – a 76-year-old woman – was not among those taken to hospital, Bough said, adding no arrests have been made and no charges have been laid at this time. 

It's not confirmed if two vehicles were struck and Bough urged anyone whose vehicle was hit, or who witnessed the crash, to come forward.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was heartbroken by news of the crash.

"To the family and friends of the child who passed away, know that Canadians across the country are here for you," he wrote. "And to those who were injured, we're wishing you all a fast and full recovery. We’ll be keeping you in our thoughts."

Premier Doug Ford, who planned to visit the site of the crash later Wednesday, said his heart "just breaks for the family of the little girl who lost her life." 

"The rest of Ontario is grieving with you during this difficult time," he said in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers are also with those who were injured, as I wish for their full recovery." 

London Mayor Ed Holder also voiced his grief.

"This is beyond tragic," he said in a tweet. "Our thoughts also remain fixated on those still in hospital as we hope and pray for complete recoveries."

By Wednesday afternoon, a GoFundMe page set up for a mother and daughter hit in the crash had raised more than $4,000. 

The fundraiser page said the mother and her eight-year-old daughter are part of a family that moved to London from South Africa last year. It said the girl received some "deep cuts and a broken shoulder blade," while her mother "is in worse condition" in intensive care. 

"Please pray for them both and the rest of the individuals involved," the fundraiser page said. "They do not have family here and will need and deserve all of the support they can get." 

The crash came roughly six months after a collision in London that killed four members of a Muslim family that police have described as a deliberate, hate-motivated attack.

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in what prosecutors allege was an act of terrorism. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 15.

The June 6 incident killed Salman Afzaal, 46; his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, who were out for an evening walk. The couple's nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously hurt.

- with files from Noushin Ziafati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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