Liverpool explosion: One dead after car explodes outside hospital

Blast not yet declared a terrorist incident but Counter Terrorism Policing North West are leading investigation

Sam Hancock
Monday 15 November 2021 07:19
One dead following explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital, police confirm-.mp4

One person has died and another is being treated for serious injuries after a car exploded outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday, police have confirmed.

Emergency services were called to reports of a blast involving a vehicle – which Merseyside Police have since said was a taxi – at the NHS site at around 10.59am on Sunday.

The force said in a statement that the explosion had not yet been declared a terrorist incident, but that counterterrorism officers would be leading the investigation “out of caution”.

Chief constable Serena Kennedy, in a briefing outside the hospital, said: “So far we understand that the car involved was a taxi which pulled up at the hospital shortly before the explosion occurred.

“Work is still going on to establish what has happened, and could take some time before we are in a position to confirm anything.”

She continued: “We are keeping an open mind as to what caused the explosion but given how it has happened, out of caution, Counter Terrorism police are leading the investigation supported by Merseyside Police.”

Counter Terrorism Policing North West, the force heading up the investigation, said in a statement: “We are working at a rapid pace to try and establish the circumstances behind this and will update in due course.”

It is not yet known if there is a connection between the timing of the incident and the fact that it occurred on Remembrance Sunday, with the associated minute’s silence usually observed at 11am.

Home secretary Priti Patel said in a tweet that she was “being kept regularly updated on the awful incident” and that police were “working hard to establish what happened”.

“It is right they are given the time and space to do so,” the Tory MP added.

Images of a vehicle on fire in the hospital’s car park were shared on social media earlier. One of the people who posted the photos on Twitter claimed that a friend who worked at the hospital had sent them to him.

It has since been disclosed that the taxi exploded outside the hospital’s main entrance, next to a drop-off point.

Phil Garrigan, chief fire officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said the car fire was “fully developed” when two of his trucks arrived shortly after 11am.

“The operational crews extinguished the fire rapidly but as has been reiterated by the police chief constable, there was one fatality,” he told reporters at the scene. “Another individual had left the vehicle prior to the fire developing to the extent that it did.”

Armed police were pictured visiting an address in Liverpool after the explosion

Concerns were initially raised after a bomb disposal unit was pictured arriving at the hospital this afternoon, before police gave their latest update. Members of the public swiftly began to be turned away from entering the site in Liverpool’s city centre.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital has since said visiting access is restricted “until further notice” and that patients will be diverted to other hospitals “where possible”.

A spokesperson for the hospital said staff would also be reviewing “patient activity for the next 24 to 48 hours”, and warned that people “should wait to be contacted for updates about any planned appointments or other attendance at the hospital”.

“Our staff are being permitted to leave and enter the hospital under the supervision of Merseyside Police,” the spokesperson went on, adding: “We will be ensuring that anyone affected by this has the appropriate support in place.”

North West Ambulance Service, one of the services called to deal with the blast, added: “Our thoughts are with all affected.”

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