Five dead after Parliament terror attack

Updated:2017-03-23 09:36:02

  Five people died, including a police officer and the suspected attacker, and 40 others were injured near the British Parliament buildings on Wednesday afternoon, in what London police described as a "terrorist incident".

A man driving a sports utility vehicle was believed to have run over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge at around 2.40 pm local time. The driver then apparently crashed into railings, got out of the car and attacked a policeman with a knife near the Palace Yard entrance to the House of Commons, before being shot. The policeman later died, according to media reports.

  There were some unconfirmed reports that police were hunting for a second man who may have accompanied the assailant in the vehicle. The assailant was given first aid and carried conscious to an ambulance.

  Colleen Anderson, a doctor from St Thomas' Hospital, where the victims were being treated, confirmed that a female pedestrian had died after falling under the wheels of a bus. She told reporters: "I confirmed one fatality. A woman. She was under the wheel of a bus. She died. I confirmed her death at the scene."

  She added: "There were people across the bridge. There were some with minor injuries, some catastrophic. Some had injuries they could walk away from or who have life-changing injuries. There were maybe a dozen people injured."

  Officials also confirmed that a woman was rescued from the River Thames after she apparently jumped from Westminster Bridge to escape the assailants' car.

  Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, was escorted from the House of Commons by armed police minutes after the incident. Police also shut the gates of nearby Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth was in residence.

  As of press time, there was no report of Chinese nationals injured in the incident. The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom issued an alert to Chinese nationals visiting or staying in the UK, calling for their raised vigilance and safety awareness, and urging them to avoid crowded areas.

  Witnesses described how a car plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings.

  Rados aw Sikorski, a Polish politician, told the BBC he saw four people on the ground on the bridge.

  "I didn't see a car, but I heard what I thought was a collision," he said. "I looked through the window of the taxi and I saw someone down, obviously in great distress."

  Amine Morada, from Algeria, was in Parliament Square when the incident happened: "I heard a loud bang, bang. I looked around and saw a man on the ground with blood coming out of his head. He was white with black hair and was wearing backpack. People were screaming. It was chaos. I saw a crashed car and two people were slumped on it. It had smoke coming out of it and water coming out the bottom. I thought it was an accident."

  Quentin Letts, the Daily Mail's parliamentary sketchwriter, told the BBC he saw a man in black clothing attack a police officer, before being shot two or three times as he apparently tried to enter the House of Commons.

  "I saw a thick-set man in black clothes come through the gates into New Palace Yard, just below Big Ben," he said. "He had something in his hand, it looked like a stick of some sort, and he was challenged by a couple of policemen in yellow jackets. And one of the yellow-jacketed policemen fell down and we could see the man in black moving his arm in a way that suggested he was stabbing or striking the yellow-jacketed policeman.

  "The other officer ran to get help and the man in black ran about 15 yards towards the entrance.

  "As this attacker was running towards the entrance two plain-clothed guys with guns shouted at him what sounded like a warning, he ignored it and they shot two or three times and he fell."

  Angus McNeice and Bo Leung contributed to the story