Facebook safety alert activated for Toronto after van attack

ABOVE: Chaos in Toronto after a white van mounted a curb in the city’s north end, killing nine people and injuring 16 others.

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature in Toronto after a van plowed into a dozen pedestrians Monday afternoon, leaving at least 10 people dead and 16 others injured.

The feature, which is only switched on in times of emergency, allows users in the area of the crash to let Facebook friends and family know they are safe. It also allows people in the area to offer volunteer services, such as food, transportation or shelter.

READ MORE: Eyewitnesses describe panic as van hits Toronto pedestrians

Users can also send messages to loved ones through the page asking them if they are safe.

The check-in has also been activated during other emergencies, like the 2017 terror attack in Barcelona, that left 13 people dead and 50 injured after a white van deliberately plowed through a crowd.

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READ MORE: Facebook activates safety check feature after Barcelona attack

Toronto police are still investigating the driver who plowed his white Ryder rental van in the Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area of North York around 1:30 p.m. ET.

One suspect has been taken into custody.

At least one witness described the driver as appearing to deliberately target victims during his roughly 1.6-km-long rampage.

“I saw a van coming from the north side and there was a guy trying to cross the street. And he [the driver] hit the guy on purpose… the guy flew a good five or six metres and he was dead right away,” a witness told Global News.

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