The attacker, who was wielding an ‘eight inch’ knife, was shot by police after launching the terror attack in the capital this afternoon.
Dramatic pictures show bloodied bodies littering Westminster bridge and the vicinity outside Parliament as heroic bystanders desperately try to save the lives of those injured.
Two people have been seen lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall – one of whom is thought to be the attacker.
Earlier reports suggested sounds of an explosion were heard but this has not been confirmed.
Pedestrians reportedly jumped into the River Thames in a bid to escape the horror unfolding in the tourist hotspot.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
- Reports of gunfire and man wielding a knife outside Parliament at 2.40pm
Police shoot suspect in Parliament grounds after police officer stabbed
- Reports attacker mowed down up to a dozen people in 4×4 on Westminster Bridge
- It is thought he careered along bridge ploughing to all in his path before hitting Parliament gates
- Police treating the attack as a “terrorist incident until we know otherwise”
- Dramatic pictures show bloodied bodies strewn across bridge and outside Parliament
- Theresa May bundled into Jaguar by undercover cop and whisked to safety
- Westminster on lockdown with station, bridge and roads shut for foreseeable future
- Emergency services urge Londoners not to call 999 unless absolutely necessary
The Prime Minister was in the voting lobby at the time of the attack and was rapidly bundled into a silver Jaguar by an undercover cop and rushed from the scene.
Official sources have confirmed she is unharmed.
The news came as eyewitness’ the horror that unfolded on Westminster Bridge with pedestrians being knocked down like bowling pins.
Witness Rick Longley said: “We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out.
“They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.
“A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.
“I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”
Speaking to reporters junior doctor Colleen Anderson from St Thomas’ Hospital said a female pedestrian had died.
She also said she treated a police officer in his 30s with a head injury who had been taken to King’s College Hospital.
She said: “I confirmed one fatality. A woman. She was under the wheel of a bus.
“She died, confirmed her death at the scene.”
Ms Anderson said: “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 (injured).”
As Westminster was placed on lockdown Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs: “What I am able to say to the House is there has been a serious incident within the estate.
“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police.
“An air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties.
“There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it’d be wrong of me to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the House security authorities about what is going on.”
Rob Smith was running past Westminster when he said he saw the drama unfolded, told Sun Online: “The grey Hyundai car came across the bridge then across the cycle lane, hit a man on a bike and drive into the wall gates.
“Police ran straight out and shot him. I think there was another person but I can’t be sure”.
He said that officers had been drawing their guns as they ran out.
Another witness reported: “We heard a loud bang, lots of shouting and men running around.
Someone rushed through, attacked a policeman.
“He appeared to be carrying a knife or a gun. We then heard gunfire, five or six rounds.
“The man approaching one of the police officers with a knife.”
Another witness told Sky News a man was seen walking towards a policeman with a knife in his hand, having already assaulted another policeman.
A medical helicopter has landed outside the Houses Parliament to treat victims and a Hazardous Area Response Team has been dispatched.
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Staff inside Parliament were told to stay in their offices and stay away from the window.
Immediately before the incident, at around 2.45pm, a crowd of passers-by was seen running from the direction of Westminster Bridge and around the corner into Parliament Square.
Met Police have asked anyone with pictures to make sure they are passed for police while the public are asked not to request ambulances unless it is a genuine emergency.
Aerial footage above Westminster shows injured being treated and multiple emergency vehiclesDennis Burns, who was just entering Parliament for a meeting when the security alert happened, told the Press Association: “As I was coming through the doors at Portcullis House, a policeman grabbed someone who was coming in and threw him out.
“As we were coming though the glass doors I was told by one security guard to get out while another one told me to get in.
“As I walked in I heard a security guard get a radio message saying ‘a policeman has been stabbed’.
“Then I walked in as police officers and security start rushing out of the front doors on to the street.
“When I got inside I was wondering what the hell was going on and I saw dozens of panicked people running down the street. The first stream was around 30 people and the second stream was 70 people.
“It looked like they were running for their lives.”
The whole area is on lockdown with police closing the following areas: Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.
A statement said: “This is to allow the emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident.
“Officers – including firearms officers – remain on the scene and we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.
“We thank the public for their assistance.”
By Emma Lake/SUN