March 22, 2017 6:04 pm
Updated: March 22, 2017 6:34 pm

As it happened: Eyewitnesses describe London terror attack

Police secure the area close to the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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The city of London was rattled Wednesday afternoon after a terror attack that left five people, including a police officer, dead and at least 20 more with injuries.

It was around 2:40 p.m. local time when a vehicle struck a number of people before crashing near Parliament. The man who emerged from the vehicle stabbed a police officer before trying to enter Parliament.

He was shot by police before he could enter.

READ MORE: At least 5 dead, 20 injured in terror attack outside U.K. Parliament

The area around Parliament, which includes Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Westminster Bridge, is located on the Thames River and is a popular tourist destination, usually bubbling with energy.

A map of the area surrounding the U.K. Parliament

Global News / James Waters

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But government workers were in lockdown for hours during the incident, while police were investigating. The lockdown has since lifted and officials said that the House of Commons will sit as normal on Thursday.

MP Corline Lucas described the scene inside to The Guardian as quiet and tense.

“I was in the voting lobby and the doors slammed quite firmly and then we were told to stay inside. Everyone was mostly quiet, on their phones or iPads watching the news. A lot of people were thanking the chamber staff, security staff who we see every day who keep us safe,” she said.

“We were told the House will sit as normal and then it was asked if we’ll be given a chance to pay tribute tomorrow and we were told that we would. And everyone filed out.”

READ MORE: British MP gave CPR to stabbed police officer after terror incident outside U.K. Parliament

Witnesses outside Parliament described the attack as shocking.

“I was walking across the bridge. I just passed a group of, I think, Chinese tourists doing sort of selfies by Big Ben … and then I heard a big sort of crunch,” eyewitness Rob Lyon told Reuters.

“Sounded like a car crash but almost like crunch of a wheel on a curb. Then I saw the vehicle mounting the curb, and it was coming at us so quickly, I saw some people be hit in front of me.”

“Fortunately it [the attacker’s car] went past me. And then [I] looked around me in shock because I could see bodies and people. Yeah, real shock.”

WATCH:’ I was just in shock’: Eyewitness describes attack near British Parliament

“I can see it quite clearly, I think it’s kind of embedded in my brain, slightly,” Lyon said.

“It was just revving so loudly. My first thought was someone just had a heart attack. You know, put the foot on the accelerator, because it was revving so loudly.”

Another witness told the Associated Press he saw the man get out of the car.

“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,” Rick Longley told the news agency. “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.”

Across the river, the London Eye was halted, stranding tourists and sightseers on the massive Ferris wheel hundreds of metres in the air.

Guests were suspended over the city, and could see the attack as it unfolded.

American tourist Ellen Brunsberg told Reuters they weren’t aware of what was going on at first.

READ MORE: Timeline of terror attacks in Britain

“It seemed unusual and [there were] some police boats,” she said. “And then we looked at the bridge and (we) realised things were stopped and there were a lot of people running. And then we realised there must be something going on, but wasn’t sure what it was.”

One man posted pictures of the scene, showing clogged bridges and emergency response vehicles.

Tourists were allowed off the Ferris wheel once the danger had passed.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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