London attack: Romanian baker and Spanish banker among heroes – BBC News

Image copyright j.echeverria
Image caption Ignacio Echeverra has gone missing after trying to defend a woman against an attacker with his skateboard

A Spanish man tried to defend a woman who was being stabbed by one of the London Bridge attackers with his skateboard.

Ignacio Echeverra, 39, saw the attack unfolding at London Bridge on Saturday night, and rushed to help the woman.

But there is growing concern for Mr Echeverria, who has not been seen since.

The HSBC employee, from Madrid, is one of a number of people who put their personal safety at risk in order to help others during the attack, which left seven people dead and 48 injured.

According to his father, friends “saw him lying on the floor on the sidewalk after defending someone with his skateboard”.

He is reportedly not listed among the dead, not all of whom have been named by police.

An off-duty policeman – an amateur rugby player – was stabbed after tackling one of the three attackers. He remains in critical condition.

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick praised the “utterly heroic” actions of the officer, who was taken to hospital in a police car.

She added: “It’s hard to pick out individual stories but I am immensely proud of him and what he did.”

A British Transport Police officer, who faced the attackers armed only with his baton, was seriously injured but is now in a stable condition.

Chief Constable Paul Crowther from the BTP said the bravery he showed was “outstanding”.

Image caption Romanian baker Florin Morariu helped protect people by throwing crates at one of the attackers

Romanian baker Florin Morariu has been described as a hero on social media. The man, who works at Bread Ahead bakery in Borough Market, saw a commotion outside the shop on Saturday evening.

He invited some distressed Brazilian women into the shop and gave them a glass of water.

They explained that three men were stabbing revellers in the market.

He said he grabbed two crates and went outside to find the attackers and defend the injured.

Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire show, he said: “I felt pity for the victims, I didn’t know how to handle things or react, I thought to myself I’m also in danger.

I just threw the crate at [one of the attackers]. I threw the first crate and I knew he was going to dodge it. while he was dodging it I walked towards him and hit him in the head with the other crate.”

He then said a policeman shouted at him to stand back. The officer then discharged a grenade.

Giovanni Sagristani, 38, and his friends were in the El Pastor restaurant on Stoney Street when one of the attackers came in and stabbed a woman in the chest.

“He came in shouting and just stabbed her,” he said.

Image copyright Giovanni Sagristani
Image caption Carlos (left) and Giovanni were in a restaurant where an attacker stabbed a woman

Mr Sagristani’s partner Carlos Pinto, 33 – who works as a critical care nurse in London – attended to the woman, with the help of his friend, another nurse.

“They took some ice and cloths and tried to stop the bleeding. She lost half a litre of blood in the beginning. He was keeping pressure on the wound,” Mr Sagristani said.

He said fellow diners had managed to push the attacker out of the restaurant by throwing chairs and bottles at him. Once the attacker was outside, staff lowered a security gate and locked people inside.

Image copyright Giovanni Sagristani
Image caption Diners threw chairs and bottles at the attacker

“After the initial moment of panic, everyone tried to help this girl and stay calm. We were all at the back of the restaurant. There were shots going off outside and we didn’t know what was going on.”

Mr Sagristani said it was more than two hours before the paramedics were able to reach them.

“They kept her conscious. It was very lucky they were there,” he added.

Eyewitness Gerard Vowls told the BBC how he tried to stop the attackers stabbing a woman. He threw bottles, pint glasses and chairs at the men.

“I tried to help, but at the end of the day I was defenceless,” he said.

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Media captionEyewitness Gerard: “They were running and stabbing everyone”

Sunday Express business editor Geoff Ho attempted to help a bouncer at the Southwark Tavern, who was being set upon by two of the attackers.

The boxing and martial arts enthusiast is currently in intensive care after being stabbed in the neck.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Sunday Express business editor Geoff Ho was injured trying to help a bouncer

Footage of him being escorted to an ambulance by police has been posted on the Daily Express website.

In it he is clutching his neck and using his shirt as a bandage.

After the attack Mr Ho wrote on Facebook: “Don’t know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the Southwark Tavern, but two a***s trying to do over the lone bouncer on the door isn’t happening on my watch.”

On Monday the journalist wrote on Twitter that he had been in surgery and was “on the mend”.

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Media captionDr Malik Ramadhan tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the injured were “startled to the point they couldn’t speak”

Consultant at the Royal London Hospital Dr Malik Ramadhan was cycling home after his shift at Accident and Emergency when he sensed something was wrong.

He was cycling south on Tower Bridge, when he noticed emergency vehicles speeding towards the London Bridge area.

“It was clear that something was happening both from the way they were driving and the number of vehicles.”

He said: “Given what’s been happening, I turned back to work.”

When he arrived at the Royal London a major incident had been declared, and on-call staff were ready to treat all of the patients within 30 minutes.

“The 12 were all very badly injured. The people who had been stabbed, had been stabbed with an intent to kill.”

Patients were “startled to the point that they couldn’t speak”.

Dr Ramadhan added that many doctors and nurses are not drinking on the weekends in case a major attack occurs.

Student nurse Rhiannon Owen was at a cash point when a taxi driver shouted at her to run.

“I saw the knife and I didn’t turn around again. I just started running as fast as I could,” she said.

The 19-year-old, from Cheshire, saw the attacker behind her and ran into Applebee’s pub where she joined 30 or 40 others and hid in a stock room.

She said she owes her life to that taxi driver, and appealed for him to get in touch: “You saved my life and you let me go and make sure other people were safe.”

Elsewhere, there were tales of generosity as people did their bit to support the emergency services.

Supermarket workers were pictured offering food and drink to police officers on Sunday morning.

A paramedic who was at the scene said the manager of a McDonald’s closed the restaurant to the public and gave all remaining food and crates of water to the emergency services.

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Media captionPaul Ashworth: ‘We’ve got to keep together… the world is falling apart’.

Paul Ashworth, from Surrey, has been cycling around the London Bridge area giving out water to the police.

“I’ve just come to give the police some cold water. It’s nothing in comparison to what they do. It’s just to try and give something back. They’re protecting us, saving our lives,” he said.

The plumber, who cycled 21 miles from the Surrey border into London, said: “We’ve just to got to keep together – the whole world has.”


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