Parliament crash: 'Screams' heard before accelerating car 'swerved onto wrong side of road and ploughed into cyclists', witnesses say

'He hit the barrier at such speed the car actually lifted off the ground and bounced,' says onlooker

Moment armed police swarm car after it crashes into barrier outside Parliament

Witnesses have described hearing “screams” as a car veered onto the wrong side of the road and ploughed into cyclists before slamming into a security barrier outside parliament.

Barry Williams, a BBC employee who works nearby, said the vehicle appeared to accelerate “as fast as possible” before the crash, which injured at least three people.

:: Follow the latest updates on parliament crash live

The car’s male driver was arrested on suspicion of terror offences after armed police swooped on the scene just before 7.40am on Tuesday.

Scotland Yard placed the area on lockdown and said counterterrorism detectives were investigating.

Several witnesses said the crash looked “deliberate”.

“The car went onto the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them,” Mr Williams said.

“Then it swerved back across the road and accelerated as fast as possible and hit the barrier at full pelt.

“It was a small silver car and he hit it at such speed the car actually lifted off the ground and bounced.

“Then the police just jumped. Two officers managed to leap over the security barriers and then the armed police vehicles all sped towards the scene.”

Another witness, Jason Williams, told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the driver had “driven at speed – more than 40 mph”.

He added: “There was smoke coming out of the car. I have seen people on the ground, lying on the road. I don’t know if they have actually been hit by the vehicle or not.

“I saw at least 10 people lying down. I was told basically to move away, to run. I have run for my life.”

He added: “It looked deliberate. It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang.”

Ewalina Ochab, who also saw the crash, said: “I think it looked intentional – the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.

“I was walking on the other side [of the road]. I heard some noise and someone screamed.

“I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.”

Images on social media showed a group of cyclists standing next to several bikes strewn in the road. One cyclist appears to be lying injured in the street.

“Sat in the first car at Westminster lights when car ploughed through cyclists,” wrote the woman who posted it on Twitter.

Police were on the scene “in seconds”, she added.

Cyclist James Maker, 30, of Chelmsford, Essex, passed the scene in Westminster within minutes of the crash to see a woman injured on the ground.

“I looked to the right-hand side and there was a cyclist on the floor, clearly been injured,” he said.

“It was a woman, they were clearly quite injured, they weren’t moving and they were in the recovery position.”

Fellow cyclists were helping her, he said, adding: “There were a couple of cyclists who had clearly been involved who were sitting on the floor and perhaps had minor injuries.

“I must be honest, I’ve got a young son and a wife and my initial reaction was as long as paramedics were seeing to the woman I wanted to get away from the incident.”

Mr Maker then saw the silver Ford Fiesta crashed into the barrier outside Westminster Palace.

He said: “You’ve got to have an intent to go for that barrier, there’s so many security barriers and the way the car ended up in that part it would appear deliberate to me. It’s gone up the driveway and hit the actual barrier thinking perhaps it would open.

Parliament crash: Rooftop camera shows moment car crashes into barriers

London Ambulance Service said it two injured people to hospital and assessed a third with minor injuries at the scene.

Police initially locked down the Houses of Parliament and surrounding buildings but have since begun letting parliamentary staff into work.

Officers were redirecting commuters and tourists around cordons as people gathered to look at the scene.

Rebecca Clark, a 52-year-old American tourist, was due to go on a tour of the Houses of Parliament this morning.

She told The Independent: “I’m just frustrated mainly – I live in New York so we have these kind of things as well. They are being cautious and that’s good.”

Ms Clark said the incident had not affected her view of London, where she previously studied and lived in the 80s. “It’s always a good time to visit London, this is just unfortunate.”

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