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A taxi plowed into a restaurant in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, officials say; eight people were hurt, five of them taken to hospitals
The crash happened around 12:35 p.m. at Westville restaurant, on Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, fire officials said
Footage from the scene showed the taxi halfway inside the restaurant at one point, its front bumper ripped off and resting on the sidewalk
Eight people were hurt when a taxi plowed into the "al fresco" dining area of a restaurant in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, fire officials say.
Five of the victims were taken to hospitals following the 12:35 p.m. crash at the Westville restaurant on Ninth Avenue, which left the sidewalk littered with debris -- including what appeared to be at least part of the taxi cab, the front bumper, itself.
The other three victims refused medical attention at the scene, the FDNY said.
Footage from the scene posted to the Citizen app showed the front half of the yellow taxi inside the Hell's Kitchen establishment — leaving a trail of debris in its wake as firefighters canvassed the area for potential victims.
A cause of the crash is under investigation; the FDNY said it did not appear the restaurant sustained any significant structural damage.
Following the incident, the restaurant remained open for business.
According to the driver of the taxi, MD Shulaiman, who remained at the scene, another driver hit his car from behind at which point the taxi ended up "out of control" and slammed into the restaurant.
Tim Linnasak, a restaurant worker next door to where the crash took place, says the incident happened quickly, although he is not sure what exactly happened since he was inside when he suddently saw the taxi pass by.
A smoke break turned into chaos for Eric Martell, who witnessed the incident.
He lit up a cigarette and seconds later, just steps away, this cab hopped the curb smashing into sidewalk tables at Westville restaurant on Ninth Avenue, south of 54th Street.
Meanwhile Peter Staley, the restaurant's manager, was inside when the taxi plowed into the eatery.
"It sounded like a shelf falling. That was my first thought that something large fell,” he said.
Staley was not injured in the incident. He's also thankful his customers in the al fresco dining area also managed to escape.
Staley said it was "pretty scary" and people were "in shock."
"Luckily, like I said, no one was majorly hurt,” Staley told NBC 4 New York.