Today’s terror attack on London Bridge evoked memories of the 2017 tragedy for the tens of thousands of people who were evacuated or left stranded.
A suspect wearing a hoax explosive device was shot dead by armed officers on the north side of the bridge after several people were stabbed. The Met later declared it a terrorist incident.
Officers immediately shut all routes leading to the bridge from the capital’s financial district.
Thousands of people came streaming down Cannon Street as police officers, some armed and with dogs, roared: “Clear the road!” The cordon was gradually moved further away from the bridge.
Dozens of police cars sped to the scene as eyewitnesses told Yahoo News UK at least six shots were fired.
One man, who didn’t want to be named, said he saw the body of a white man, aged in his 30s or 40s, being stretchered away from the bridge.
While scores of people rushed away from the scene, others were waiting outside the cordon, unable to get back to their workplaces.
One of them, Matthew Gould, was unable to get back to Fenchurch Street. He said: “I’ve been around a few attacks before, but not this close.
“London Bridge last time, I had only just left my girlfriend about five minutes before and she was going through Borough Market. She luckily went and bought some shoes, but I couldn’t get hold of her for two hours.”
Eight people were killed and 48 seriously injured in the 2017 attack.
James Senoo added: “I work in a building up here. Thousands of people have been coming down Cannon Street. All the buildings were evacuated.”
Another worker, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We were in the office about three or four buildings away. One by one, we just saw loads of police cars, a lot of people rushing in, guys with dogs. And a lot of shouting.”
Other bystanders were unable to attend their appointments at Guy’s Hospital, which is near the bridge.
On the south side of the bridge, an office worker called Tom, who asked for his surname to be withheld, described how several panicked people were ushered into his building next to Borough Market amid concerns of a violent suspect nearby.
The 21-year-old told the PA news agency: “I was taking a lunch break around London Bridge at about 2pm when I noticed helicopters everywhere.
“All of a sudden, police cars were speeding past, someone said there had been an attack.
“We have metal grates on our office doors, so people sort of took refuge in here. There were about 20 non-staff people.
“Nobody knew what was going on, people were a bit scared.
“It was about 20 minutes later that the police told us it was safe, but we then had to be evacuated.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson later said “anybody involved in this crime and these attacks will be hunted down and will be brought to justice” as he paid tribute to the “bravery” of the emergency services and members of the public who intervened in the attack.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “What’s remarkable about the images we’ve seen is the breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger, not knowing what confronted them.
“We do know from the statement given by the assistant commissioner Neil Basu that there appears to be a device on the suspect.
“Members of the public didn’t realise at the time that was a hoax device and they really are the best of us, another example of the bravery and heroism of ordinary Londoners running towards danger, risking their own personal safety to try and save others.”