Van mows down pedestrians on London Bridge; stabbings at nearby cafe, witnesses say
LONDON — A van mowed down pedestrians as it sped down London Bridge in the British capital Saturday night, leaving bodies lying in the roadway, a witness to the incident told CNN.
Also Saturday, a man with a “massive knife” entered a restaurant at Borough Market, just south of the bridge, and stabbed two people inside, a witness told CNN on Saturday. The patrons sheltered in the basement and police then arrived at the scene, the witness said. The condition of the stabbed people was not known.
Authorities have not said if the incidents were related. Other details:
• London’s Metropolitan Police said officers responded to reports of a vehicle colliding with pedestrians at 10:08 p.m. (5:08 p.m. ET).
• The Prime Minister will chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee Sunday, according to a statement from 10 Downing Street, via Britain’s Press Association.
• “Armed officers responded and shots have been fired” in Borough Market, police tweeted.
• US President Donald Trump has been briefed by the national security team, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. Trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!
• Authorities have not provided details of the incident or said how many people are hurt.
Mark Roberts, the witness on the bridge, said the van was traveling south across the River Thames at a high rate of speed and was swerving as it struck several people, knocking one person “about 20 feet into the air.”
The van swerved into oncoming lanes before hitting a bus stop and coming to a stop, Roberts said.
“Within my line of sight, there were five or six people on the ground that were not moving,” he said. “It looked to me that the van was aiming at the people.”
Roberts said he heard what sounded like gunshots about 10 minutes later. He estimated 100 people were on the bridge at the time, fewer than earlier in the night because it was getting late.
“I froze, to be honest,” Roberts said. “As I was thinking … which direction should I run, the van swerved across the other side of the bridge from me.”
Borough Market, where the stabbing occurred, is a popular market with gourmet food and produce stalls and several restaurants inside.
A witness said they were in the front of Elliot’s Cafe when a large group of people started running up the street from Borough Market.
“Someone said, ‘What is going on?’ and one of the people running said, ‘There is a man with a knife up there and he is coming this way.’ There was complete panic as everyone ran to the back of the restaurant and crouched down trying to hide themselves from view,” the witness said.
“A man suddenly appeared in the restaurant with a massive knife — some people in the restaurant believe there may have been another man — but it was so chaotic it was hard to tell,” the witness said.
The man with the knife stabbed a waitress, who was hiding behind a partition, in the neck and stabbed a man in the back before running out of the restaurant, the witness said.
The US embassy in London tweeted: “Please avoid the area and monitor local news/@metpoliceuk for updates.”
At 11:44 p.m., Metropolitan Police tweeted that officers were also responding to reports of an “incident” in the Vauxhall area, about 2.5 miles southwest of Borough Market, also on the south side of the Thames.
London Bridge Tube station was closed and London Bridge was closed in both directions.
England has been on edge since May 22, when a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
The bridge incident also comes more than two months after a man drove an SUV into a crowd on the sidewalk along Westminster Bridge in London, killing at least four people.
After ramming the car into a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament, the driver got out and stabbed a police officer to death. The attacker was gunned down by a police officer.
The assailant, Khalid Masood, 52, of West Midlands, reportedly had a criminal record and may have had connections to violent extremism, British Prime Minister Theresa May said.