Cork woman who witnessed London Bridge attack describes chaos of incident
Liveline caller was on hop-on hop-off tour bus when attack took place
People lay flowers at London Bridge for the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The dramatic moment bystanders wrestled the London Bridge terror attacker to the ground on Friday after he had killed two people was described by an eyewitness on RTÉ radio’s Liveline show.
Jane, who did not give her surname, said her family were in a “state of shock” after being caught up in the incident. From Knocknaheeny, Cork, Jane had been visiting relatives in London and was travelling through the capital city on a hop-on hop-off tour bus when the chaos unfolded in front of her.
On Friday, Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23) were killed in the knife attack that police have described as a terrorist event. The pair were fatally stabbed during an event that had been taking place in the Fishmonger’s Hall building.
Several men used a fire extinguisher and narwhal tusk to chase the attacker from the building before tackling him to the ground. The attacker, convicted terrorist Usman Khan (28), was wearing a fake suicide vest and was shot dead by police.
“We were coming up by the Fishmonger, the building just before London Bridge. We were taking pictures and that,” Jane told Liveline.
The foam spray of a fire extinguisher caught her eye as she looked out onto the bridge from the bus, she said. “There was two other men behind him with big long sticks and they were trying to fight your man out,” she said.
The bus was in earshot of the attack and Jane described how she heard a shout that someone had been killed and the police were on their way.
“The police were there without two, three minutes,” she told Liveline presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes.
“They [THE POLICE]tried to taser him first but that didn’t do anything, and then there was the three gunshots, they shot him,” she said. “You could actually see the smoke rise from the gun,” she said.
Onlookers could see lines of ducttape on the man’s waist, she said, which transpired to be a fake suicide vest.
Jane described the chaos of people leaving their cars and running from the scene, with traffic coming to a standstill. “The people on the bus were lying on the ground of the bus,” she said.
“When your man lifted his hands and we could see what was strapped to his chest, then we kind of went ‘Oh okay, now this is more serious,” she said.
It was not until she returned to her hotel room with her family that they broke down and started crying, she said.
“There could have been a lot more casualties,” Jane told Liveline, adding it was terrible to think of the two young people who the assailant had killed. “It’s horrible to even think about it, there’s no words for it,” she said.
“It wouldn’t put me off going back to London, but you just will have to have your wits about you, just a little bit more alert,” she said.
“We’re okay, I think it’s just a relief that we’re back home, but we just have to get on with it now. It’s still there in your mind, it’s still very clear,” Jane said.