Chaos erupted in Melbourne’s morning commute as armed police swarmed a train station over fears a man was spotted with a gun.
Armed police stormed Flagstaff Train Station in the city’s centre about 8.30am on Thursday, after a passenger reported seeing a man acting strangely, holding what they believed to be a firearms bag.
Passengers were evacuated from the area as police searched the station and trains.
Police have now confirmed the man was a busker who had been carrying a sports duffel bag – not a firearms bag. Police said the man had been preparing for a street performance.
Victoria Police (pictured) responded to an incident at Flagstaff train station in the city’s centre on Thursday
Police in riot gear search Flagstaff train station on Thursday morning
Commuters were told by a train driver someone had been spotted with a firearm on Thursday morning
Police stormed the station on Thursday morning as the City Loop stopped operating
During a press conference, Inspector Jacob Bugeja said the person had been seen carrying a sports duffel bag doing breathing exercises on the train.
‘He was a local busker who was there to play an instrument in town.
‘There was a bag a person was carrying to do his busking in. Nothing was left on the train. They exited the train at another station.’
He said after viewing security footage police were able to track the man in question to the CBD where police spoke to him.
The busker was found within 20 minutes, Inspector Bugeja said.
People were encouraged to report any strange activity to police, he said.
‘We can then make sure there is no risk ongoing.’
Hundreds of commuters were left stranded as the city loop service stopped running while police searched Flagstaff Station
Armed police were seen surrounding the train station on Thursday morning
Panic erupted among commuters, with some left in tears over fears of a gunman.
Sarsha Vacocz told
‘Everybody started panicking. There was a woman next to me in hysterics, she was calling her whole family, telling them that she loved them, that she wasn’t sure what was going on. She thought it was a terrorist attack.
She said the police officer calmly told everyone to stand up, put their hands on their head and walk out of the train.
Victoria Police have confirmed they are responding to an incident at Flagstaff train station
Hundreds of passengers were stranded as all trains stopped running to Flagstaff as police searched area.
The City Loop service resumed running by 9.10am after police declared the area safe, according to Metro Train, however, passengers have been warned there will be delays up to 30 minutes.
In a statement, police said they would continue to investigate the incident, however at this time there was no ongoing threat to the community.
‘Police will remain in the area today to speak with any members of the public who may have concerns.’
Commuters have been left stranded as police search the area
Armed police were also seen at Flinders Station