Cricket ground evacuated after arrow fired on field of play

LONDON — An arrow was fired onto the field of play at The Oval cricket stadium during an English league match on Thursday, forcing the ground to be evacuated and play to be stopped.

London’s Metropolitan Police said there were no reports of injuries, and added that there have been no arrests and inquiries continue, BBC News reports.

The incident “is not being treated as terrorism-related,” police said in a statement. They said they are retaining “an open mind as to (the) motive.”

Spectators watching Surrey play Middlesex at the south London venue were urged to take cover after the projectile — which police described as an “arrow or crossbow bolt” — landed on the square, near players, at 4:20 p.m. local time.

Police said it is believed the arrow came from outside the ground.

“Well … we have just officially gone off the field because a metal tipped arrow just landed on the pitch!!” Surrey player Stuart Meaker tweeted.

Police said there was a “controlled evacuation” of the ground. Play was suspended and later abandoned.

BBC News reports that spectator Jeremy Lawrence said he was “shocked it happened at a county cricket match.” 

“All of a sudden the players came running off the pitch closely followed by the umpires. I thought it must be raining but it wasn’t raining,” he told BBC Sport. 

“Someone asked Rikki Clarke, the Surrey cricketer, what was happening. He said an arrow had fallen into the ground. I saw the umpire holding it and took a picture. It looked like a particularly nasty crossbow arrow.”

“I can’t stress enough what a dangerous weapon this arrow was — 18 inches long with a long metal tip,” BBC Test Match Special commentator Dan Norcross said, BBC News reported. “It could so easily have hurt someone and it landed eight yards from about five players.” 

“It’s just a very sad incident,” said Richard Gould, Surrey chief executive, “but it could have been far, far worse.”

The game ended in a draw, BBC News reports.

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Source: CBS News – World

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