Kensington crash: At least one dead after car being pursued by police ploughs into central London basement

'The man's screaming was loud at first, but then it got quieter,' says witness 

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The Independent Online

At least one man has died after a car plunged into a basement flat in Kensington in central London.

Police officers had signalled for the car to stop prior to the crash, but the car "sped away out of sight", according to Scotland Yard.

Witnesses described a brave effort from emergency services to save the men inside the car - of which just the bumper can be seen from the street. 

The collision, which left the car wedged between the side of the building and steps leading to a basement level flat, took place shortly after 3am on Saturday morning. 

Two men were able to free themselves from the trapped vehicle, while two other men were extracted from the car with the assistance of the fire brigade.

Residents said they were left trapped inside the property while the men were being removed from the car by emergency services. They were only able to escape after a ladder was brought for them.

All four men – believed to be in their 20s – were taken to hospital. One of them died later that morning. A second man remains in hospital in a critical condition.

"I heard a boom, it moved me," said Khero, 40, who lives in the flat the car crashed into. "It was a really big bang, I thought the tree [next door] had come down," he told The Independent

"There was a diesel smell and smoke. I opened the window and saw police.

"I tried to help but the police told me to get back."

Khero said he heard one of the men in the vehicle crying for his brother, who is understood to have been the man who died. 

He continued: "The man's screaming was loud at first, but then it got quieter." 

The man was given CPR on the steps of a Tesco's store opposite the flat, Khero said. 

Another neighbour, retail manager Frank Shalloe, 57, said he heard a "massive, massive thud". 

"The police were at the scene almost immediately," he said. 

"It's shocking but its not the first crash there's been here, there was another one a couple of years ago."

The flat is on the corner of a busy intersection between two 'A' roads. 

Police said the other men in the car have been arrested in connection with the incident. Neither suffered serious injuries.

The car was seen by officers being driven at speed on Talgarth Road shortly before the collision, which happened on West Cromwell Road, the Met Police added.

The Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have been informed, which is standard procedure in such incidents.