London Bridge attack: Witnesses describe confusion, fear after van incident
4th June 2017
Witnesses have described the scene of an attack on London Bridge where a van ploughed into pedestrians before several people got out of the vehicle and started stabbing passers-by.
Brian was at the scene in the immediate aftermath of the incident, having just walked out of a bar on Duke Street, just off London Bridge road.
He said if he had been at the scene 30 seconds before, he probably would have been in the middle of it.
“What I got told as soon as I got there, as I was helping the woman on the floor, the guy was … where the bars and restaurants were attacking other people,” he told the ABC.
“So we were just basically 30 seconds behind him. I didn’t see the attacker. All I saw was dead bodies or injured bodies on the floor.”
Brian said that he thought the first bodies he saw lying on the ground were caused by the van hitting pedestrians.
“Then after [London] Bridge, the people that were actually on the floor, I think after the van had crashed, I think that’s when he must have been stabbing,” he said.
“I think the injuries were more from stabbing. I just saw a lot of blood. I remember just seeing a lot of blood. There was a lot of puddles. I think it was more knife attack than anything.”
He said that despite the attack, “London is always going to be London”.
“I would say this that no matter what they do or what they try — London is always going to be strong, we will always bounce back,” he said.
“Us Londoners, we always did it. We [did] it for Manchester. Manchester did it. I don’t see people feel unsafe here. That happened, I never felt unsafe
“I don’t see people acting different. People still go out, carry on with their lives. We help with what we can.
“That’s one thing I am proud of being from London, we will always bounce back and if anyone is listening, that’s something that you cannot take away from us. We will always bounce back.”
Man in red carrying ‘a large blade’
Another person said they were taking some pictures on the bridge when they heard a noise.
“We heard a noise. A bit of a pop, a bit of a bang. We heard people screaming” they said.
“[The van] came close to us. It missed me and my friends.”
The witness also said that he saw one woman who was hit by the van.
A different eyewitness, Ben, said he saw someone being stabbed at the scene of the Borough Market attack.
“I saw a man in red with quite a large blade, it may have been, I guess, 10 inches, and he was stabbing a man. He stabbed him about three times,” he said.
A security guard working at pubs in the Borough Market area told the BBC he saw a man who had canisters taped to his abdomen.
Witness threw bottles at the attackers
Another witness saw at least six people on the ground after a white van ploughed into people on London Bridge.
The witness, who was doing a night photography class on London Bridge, told the Reuters news agency he saw the van veering on and off the pavement on the bridge.
“It looked like he was aiming for groups of people. I froze because I didn’t know what to do,” management consultant Mark Roberts, 53, said.
He said it was “horrendous,” adding that the van then veered onto the other side of the bridge before hitting a girl.
“I immediately thought this was the Westminster attack all over again.”
A different eyewitness, Gerard, said he followed the attackers into the pub and threw bottles at them.
“All of them [were] stabbing everyone. I was going to people ‘run, run, run’, I was throwing bottles at them, pint glasses, stools, chairs,” he told the BBC.
“I tried to help as many people as I could but at the end of the day I was defenceless.
“When I first saw them they went, ‘This is for Allah’, and stabbed this girl I don’t know how many times — 10 times maybe 15 times — and she was going, ‘Help, help me”, and I could not do nothing.
“I tried to help her. I threw something at them … to frighten them to get them away from her.”
‘I’m a bit shocked … to see this in London’
Another witness, Dario, said he heard some noise while crossing the road near London Bridge.
“I turned my head and saw a kind of fight just down the bridge, the train bridge,” he told the ABC.
“I didn’t realise at the moment what was going on. I thought it was just some drunk people fighting between each other.
“Then once I’ve seen the police coming up and fighting with them, I see someone stabbed in the chest, then I realised something more important was going on.
“At the moment, my first thought was my friend, we’d just passed through the fight.
“I spent 15 minutes calling him, and he called me back saying he had arrived — he just escaped, he just passed through the fight, then he saw basically everything.
“Now he is OK. Just I’m a bit shocked, to be honest — to see this in London, especially here.”
Young pair helped usher people to safety
Eyewitnesses Georgie and Toby told the BBC they first knew something had happened when they heard running and screaming.
“At first we didn’t think anything of it, we thought people were drunk,” Toby said.
But after being told by a passer-by that there had been a terror attack, the pair also ran away from the scene to find safety.
They said they managed to find a few chefs in a gated smoking area.
“I came up to them and said, ‘Right, there’s been a terror attack, let’s lock these doors and get people in’,” Toby said.
“About 20 to 30 people came through,” Georgie said.