UPDATED Saturday, July 17 19:37: A 53 year-old man was gravely injured outside the Hôtel de Paris early on Friday evening when a four year-old child took the place of the driver of a Bentley and pressed the accelerator.

The owner of the car – an Armenian national – had left the engine running while he sought out a valet to park the vehicle, according to witnesses. The car leapt forward about 15 metres, hitting the middle-aged pedestrian as he came out of the hôtel and trapping him underneath between the front and rear wheels.

A dozen passers-by tried to free the victim – a Belgian national and a Monaco resident – until the Monaco Fire Service arrived to take over. The still-conscious man was taken to the University Hospital in Nice where his condition was said to be critical.

On Saturday his family said that, thanks to overnight surgery, he was out of danger.

FILE PHOTO: Bentleys parked outside the Hôtel de Paris