A knife lies on the cobblestones as a man is treated by emergency services outside the Houses of Parliament London. Picture: APSource:AP
HOW THE ATTACK UNFOLDED
The panic began when the car the attacker was driving, repeatedly swerved on to the pavement on Westminster Bridge, sending victims sprawling. One was killed instantly as she was pushed under a red double-decker bus. Another tumbled down stairs.
The attacker appeared to deliberately steer his grey SUV towards the larger groups of pedestrians. One was a group of Korean tourists. Another was a huddle of French school children. A group of three police officers was also targeted.
One pedestrian toppled into the Thames River below.
Mobile phone footage in the immediate aftermath showed the injured sprawled across the bridge.
PC Keith Palmer who was killed during the terrorist attack. Picture: PASource:Supplied
The SUV came to a stop after rebounding off an ornate stone and metal fence near Big Ben.
The attacker, described as a middle-aged Asian man, then leapt from the car and sprinted around the corner to the entrance to New Palace Yard.
Here he was confronted by unarmed police officer Keith Palmer, whom he attacked with two knives
Moments later, as the attacker raced towards the main entrance to Parliament, an armed police officer opened fire.
Five dead after UK parliament terror attack
The assailant was critically wounded. He died a short time later.
Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down after the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament, just metres from entrances to the building itself and in the shadow of the iconic Big Ben clock tower.
Injured people are assisted on Westminster Bridge in London. Picture: ReutersSource:Reuters
A KNIFE AT LONDON’S HEART
In the House of Commons, legislators were holding a series of votes on pensions when deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle announced that the sitting was being suspended and told lawmakers not to leave.
Prime Minister May, who was in the voting lobby at the time, was reportedly bundled into a car by a plainclothes police officer and driven quickly from the scene.
Buckingham Palace’s gates were closed as a precaution.
British PM Theresa May says 'hate and evil' will not drive us apart
May praised police, saying: “these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger”.
Standing outside her Downing Street residence after an emergency cabinet meeting, May said Britain’s alert level would be kept unchanged.
“We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart,” May said.
She added any attempt to defeat the values Parliament stands for were “doomed to failure”.
“The location of this attack was no accident - the terrorist chose to strike the heart of our capital city”
People stand near a crashed car and a injured person lying on the ground, right, on Bridge Street near the Houses of Parliament in London. Picture: APSource:AAP
“I tried to stem the flow of blood and give mouth to mouth while waiting for the medics to arrive but I think he had lost too much blood,” Ellwood said. “He had multiple wounds, under the arm and in the back.”
BBC video purportedly shows a woman falling into the River Thames
“Islamist-related terrorism is our assumption,” Britain’s top counter-terror officer Mark Rowley told journalists, adding investigators believe they know the identity of the assailant.
The attack came a year to the day after Islamic State jihadists killed 32 people in twin bomb attacks in Brussels and after a series of deadly assaults in Europe that had hitherto spared Britain.
This picture of a Muslim woman walking past one of the injured has drawn criticism online. It is not known if she had been helping victims prior to this shot being taken. Picture: REX/Shutterstock/australscopeSource:australscope
The chilling moments terror hit London
NOWHERE TO RUN
The attack began as a driver in a gray SUV slammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.
The car crashed into railings on the north side of the bridge, less than 200 metres from the entrance to Parliament.
Ambulances arrived within minutes to treat people who lay scattered along the length of the bridge. One bloodied woman lay surrounded by a scattering of postcards.
Police said another injured woman was pulled from the river.
"There's one person not moving at all," eyewitness on Westminster Bridge
An injured man is assisted on the footpath under Westminster Bridge. Picture: ReutersSource:Reuters
French newspaper Le Telegramme reports three students from the Concarneau high school in Brittany, aged between 15 and 16, were wounded on Westminster Bridge. One of them ended up on the car bonnet, according to the other young people, the newspaper reports
Former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski was in a car crossing the bridge when he heard “something like a car hitting metal sheet” and then saw people lying on the pavement.
“I saw one person who gave no signs of life. One man was bleeding from his head. I saw five people who were at least seriously injured,” Sikorski told Poland’s TVN24.
A woman assist an injured person on Westminster Bridge in London. Picture: ReutersSource:Reuters
An air ambulance flew in and police cordoned off a large area, while tourists on the London Eye, a popular visitor attraction, were stuck up to 135 metres in the air for more than an hour during the incident.
“I saw three bodies lying on the ground and a whole lot of police. It was pretty terrifying,” said Jack Hutchinson, 16, from the United States, who was stranded on the observation wheel with his parents.
The deadly terror attack brought London to a standstill. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA via APSource:AP
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is due to travel to London to visit the three French pupils who were among those hurt.
Five South Korean tourists were wounded, the Yonhap news agency reported, while the Romanian foreign ministry said two Romanians were also among the injured.
A Portuguese man was hurt, the country’s government said.
An injured woman is assisted on Westminster Bridge in London. Picture: ReutersSource:Reuters
ON THE GATES OF PARLIAMENT
Leaving behind a trail of bodies on Westminster Bridge, the attacker then drove his car at a small group of people near the base of Big Ben. The SUV came to a halt against the stone-and-steel railing.
“The whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben,” said witness Rick Longley.
“They had become suddenly animated, desperate to stop someone just out of view getting through. It appears the waist-height metal barrier, a tokenistic security precaution to slow down vehicles entering Parliament for ID checks, had proved no obstacle. The efforts of the officers too were in vain.
“Up to a dozen visitors to Parliament, who had just completed the routine security checks, stood on the spot usually reserved for taking pictures of Big Ben and watched an altogether more desperate spectacle. They saw the attacker run forward, with four uniformed officers giving chase and trying to encircle him. Two individuals, dressed in the black gear used by close protection officers appeared, running towards him.
“Three or four shots rang out. The assailant fell to the floor; the close protection officers continued to run towards him.”
The alleged assailant has been shot by police. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA via APSource:AP
News Corp spoke to two men who missed the attack on Westminster Bridge by a matter of minutes.
“We were there literally two minutes before and went for a walk in front of Westminster Palace but we decided to go for a longer walk across Lambeth Bridge instead. And thank God we did,” said Liam Quinn, 25, an air conditioning engineer.
“It is really sad and I’m told it is the anniversary of the Brussels attack which really worries me.”
TURNBULL’S STIRRING SPEECH
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has sent a message of solidarity and heartfelt sympathy to the United Kingdom in the wake of the attack.
It was an attack on “parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere,” the Prime Minister said.
But Australians would not be intimidated or let it change our democratic way of life, he said.
“We must be clear eyed about the risk, it is real and that is why the terror threat level is set at probable but we will never, ever let the terrorists win,” he said.
“We will defeat and destroy them on the battlefield, we will defeat and defy them at home.
“We will never change the way we live, we will never let them divide us, we will never let them intimidate us or challenge our democratic way of life or the freedoms for which generations of Australians have served and died to keep secure.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia stands in solidarity with the people of Britain. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop extended the Australian government’s deepest sympathy to the people of the UK after speaking to her counterpart, Boris Johnson.
The minister insisted the government is doing all it can to ensure Australia is safe from such an attack.
“But as we have seen in the United Kingdom today, these events can occur,” she said.
Video shows injured in Westminster attack
Australians visiting the UK were told to avoid the area around Parliament House and Parliament Square in London but there will be no changes to travel warnings, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.
The Minister also confirmed Australia’s terror threat level won’t change in response to the attack.
Mr Keenan also said an attack like the one on Westminster, where the parliament is located next to a busy city street, was not likely to occur at Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra.
He said the government was very conscious that terrorists could also target people outside the building and in public spaces.
“The Government has been looking at that and working closely with the states to get a strategy in place to mitigate those risks,” Mr Keenan told ABC this morning.
“It’s impossible, of course, for any government to mitigate those risks 100 per cent but we’re working to make sure there are physical changes to our environment that make it harder for a terrorist to commit the sort of attack that we saw in London.”
Increased security at Parliament today was standard in the wake of an attack, he said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged support to Britain after the attack.
“This shocking crime, designed to weaken the UK, will only make her stronger. All Australians stand with Britain today,” he tweeted early on Thursday.
“Everything else runs second today really, when you have events like this,” he later told reporters in Canberra.
“Our sympathy goes out to the victims, in particular the policeman who died in the line of duty and those who were slain.
“Our sympathies go out to Australia’s oldest friend, the United Kingdom. The idea horrifies Australians, that people can walk near the Houses of Parliament and they are subject to murderous assault.
“Australians should be reassured despite the political domestic debates in Australia, all of us are united in our hatred and opposition of terrorism and the terrorists should know whenever they are, they will never divide this country.”
Ellen Whinnett, Jack Houghton and Rosemarie LentiniNews Corp Australia Network