No Aussies hurt in Times Square rampage


Police officers in protective clothes look over evidence at the scene of a fatal car crash, where a man steered his car onto a sidewalk and mowed down pedestrians, in Times Square, New York, Thursday, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop does not believe any Australians were among the 23 victims of an horrific driving rampage in New York's Times Square

An 18-year-old Michigan tourist was killed and 22 other pedestrians at the popular tourist site were injured on Thursday when a former member of the US Navy with a history of drink driving, Richard Rojas, allegedly mowed down random people for three blocks in his speeding car.


In this image taken from video provided by WABC Eyewitness News, New York City Police officers escort Richard Rojas from the Midtown South Precinct station house in New York, Thursday, May 18, 2017. (WABC Eyewitness News via AP)

Times Square is a highly popular destination for Australian tourists.

"My understanding is that no Australians were involved, but of course our consular staff are keeping a very close watch on that," Ms Bishop, in New York for meetings at the United Nations and to lobby for Australia gaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, told reporters.

"It's obviously a terrible incident."

The deceased teenager, named in media reports as 18-year-old Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman, was walking with her 13-year-old sister, who was injured.

Less than an hour before being struck Alyssa had posted New York sightseeing videos to her Instagram account.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no indication Thursday's horrific incident was an act of terrorism.

"Based on the information we have at this moment there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism," the mayor said.

"That being said, we are reinforcing key locations around the city with our anti terror units of the NYPD.

"Out of an abundance of caution major sites in the city will get additional police coverage from our anti-terror units."

The alleged driver, Rojas, 26, from the Bronx, was taken into custody.

He has two previous drink driving arrests and is being tested to ascertain if he was under the influence.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said the incident happened just before midday when a 2009 Honda Accord mounted the sidewalk at 42nd St and 7th Avenue and drove at a "high rate of speed" until 45th St when it hit a metal stanchion.

Of the injured, four were critical and three deemed very serious but were all likely to survive, authorities said.

There were 15 others taken to hospital with "less serious" injuries.

© AAP 2017