An investigation is under way into the death of a foreign student hit by an unmarked black BMW police car as the student's parents have flown in from China. The parents will be met by West Midlands police officers and driven to Birmingham.

The accident happened as the student began crossing a road close to a shopping centre at around 7 pm on Wednesday and he died in hospital after sustaining severe head and back injuries. The police said he was hit by the police car while responding to an emergency call in Newton, Birmingham.

The unnamed student was studying for an MSc in data networks and security at Birmingham City University. He was living with friends in the Newtown area.

Earlier, the police said the car was driven by a uniformed officer who has since been suspended from driving police vehicles. The vehicle was not in pursuit but had blue lights and a siren on.

The student's housemate was also crossing the road with him while the pedestrian lights were flashing green when his friend was struck.

While describing the incident the victim's friend said: "Before we crossed I took a look at the left-hand side of the road and saw about two lanes of cars parked and waiting for the traffic lights. The car was coming very fast in the third lane and had sirens and lights on, but he ran faster than me. I was ready to run too, but the car hit him," quoted Daily mail.

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: "This was a tragic incident in which a young man has lost his life after being struck by an unmarked police car as he crossed the road. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the man's family and friends during this very difficult time.

I would like to assure them and the community that a comprehensive investigation has been launched to establish the precise circumstances of the collision.

The matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission which is currently considering whether to independently investigate the incident," according to an official press statement.