London: body of eighth victim recovered from Thames.
The family of Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverría have confirmed he was killed in the London Bridge attack after trying to fend off a terrorist with his skateboard and help an injured woman.
According to Spanish media, relatives were told of the 39-year-old’s death by Spanish ambassador Carlos Bastarreche, after the family flew in to London on Tuesday.
Echeverría was reported missing after he was last seen in the area of Borough Market defending a woman with his skateboard.
His father, Joaquin Echeverría, had told the Associated Press that British authorities had not shared any information with them, but his son’s employer, HSBC, had provided the services of a private detective to help with their search.
On Wednesday, journalist and relative Isabel Durán wrote on Twitter: “Ignacio Echeverría attacked the terrorists to try to save a woman. He is in heaven with his inseparable skateboard.”
A paramedic has described being confronted by a sea of bodies, with patients and police officers “screaming for help” amid gunfire – moments after the London Bridge attacks, PA reports.
Gary Edwards, 29, said he had “a gut feeling” about the extent of the tragedy as he arrived on the south side of the bridge at around 10.10pm on Saturday.
He said he feared there was something “more sinister” than initial reports, which suggested a possible drink-driver running down pedestrians on the bridge, as he put on body armour and ran towards danger.
The paramedic said he feared for his own safety as he prepared to come face to face with an armed attack. And he praised the speed and scale of the response from his emergency service colleagues which he said “definitely” saved lives.
Edwards, who joined the London ambulance service in 2008, had been on solo duty in Southwark that evening in a Volvo fast-response car. He was attending a call several streets away with Met officers when the first details came through on the police radio.
He said: “Instantly I had a gut feeling something was going on, something more sinister. The police officers ran off and I followed them.
“When I arrived there was a sea of blue lights in front of me from the police cars. There were multiple patients laying on the floor, and lots of people running towards me as I parked up opposite the Post Office.
“I couldn’t get any further up because of the amount of people and police cars. There were 10 to 15 people laying all over the pavement and in the middle of the road. I’m being approached by lots of members of the public and police officers screaming for help. At that part of the bridge I was the first paramedic on the scene.”
Edwards, one of around 80 called to the scene, said several casualties barricaded themselves in bars and restaurants amid fear the attack was continuing.
A second French citizen has been confirmed killed in the London Bridge attack and a third is missing taking the number of potential victims to eight.
The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I have learned that one of the French citizens, who was previously given as unaccounted for, has been identified among those who have died.”
The minister did not identify the new victim, but reports said it was Sébastien Bélanger, 36, AFP reports.
Bélanger, was reported to be missing by his girlfriend, Gerda Bennet, in a series of online posts. Bennet, who works as a bartender in Hoxton in the east of the city, said her boyfriend had been at London Bridge with friends on Saturday night and had not been seen since.
Appealing for information, she said she had called his number repeatedly but had heard no news. “My heart is broken and I wish no one in this world could feel what I feel now,” she wrote.
Alexandre Pigeard, 26, who was working in a French restaurant in Borough Market, has already been confirmed as being among the seven people killed in the knife and van attack on Saturday.
Le Drian said a third French citizen remained missing following the attack.
He is thought to be 45-year-old Xavier Thomas, who was in London for the weekend with his girlfriend.
London’s Metropolitan police on Tuesday issued a public appeal for information about him.
“Witness accounts suggest that it is possible that Xavier was struck by the van that resulted in him being thrown into the River Thames,” police said in a statement.
A Met spokesman said the search for Thomas continued on Wednesday.
Thomas’ girlfriend was seriously injured after being hit by the attackers’ van.
The Spanish authorities are still trying to trace Ignacio Echeverría, a 39-year-old from Madrid who works for HSBC in London. He has not been seen since the attack on Saturday night.
He had apparently been skateboarding in a park with friends when he stopped to help a woman who had been injured in the atrocity. His family have put out an appeal on Facebook, but are still awaiting news.
Echeverría’s brother Joaquín, who is using Facebook to appeal for information, said the family had been asked for his fingerprints, adding: “That’s not a good sign.”
If Thomas and Echeverría are confirmed to have been killed in the attack that would take the number of victims to eight: two Australians, three French, a Spaniard, a Briton and a Canadian.
Borough High Street was reopened to traffic on Wednesday morning, but Borough Market remains closed off, behind tall police barriers made from substantial sheets of green metal and netting.
There is still a heavy police presence, with officers guarding all the entrances to the undercover market beneath the railway lines, and standing at the doorway of the Barrowboy and Banker pub.
There is no sign of any armed officers this morning, and most of the police’s time is taken up with giving directions to confused commuters, who are still trying to navigate the area, where many back streets remain closed off to the public.
Southwark council draped netting over the large pile of flowers piled opposite the Barrowboy and Banker pub to stop them being blown away in yesterday’s storm. Even the market’s shops and restaurants that face onto Borough High Street – Borough Kitchen, Lobos Tapas and Leon – remain closed. Police said the market was unlikely to reopen today.
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