Meet the Lions of London Bridge: 5 heroes who took on the terrorists

What do a skateboarder, a baker, and a journalist have in common? They were all heroes during the recent London Bridge terror attacks.

On Saturday (June 3) at around 10pm (5am Sunday Singapore time), three terrorists crashed a white van into pedestrians around London Bridge and stabbed multiple bystanders, before being shot dead by police.

As London recovers from the attack, more details have emerged from various media outlets of  heroes who, amid the chaos, tried to stop the terrorists from doing further harm.

Here's a look at five of them:

1. CONSTRUCTION WORKER GERARD VOWLS

Mr Vowls was heading home after watching football at a pub when he heard a man screaming: "I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed".

However, Mr Vowls could not tell whether it was a prank until the man moved his hand away from his wound and blood began to pour out.

Shortly after, he saw the attackers stabbing a woman and a man on the ground. And Mr Vowls acted.


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

"I tried to pick up something nearby, a chair or something to throw at them, to get them away from her, and then one of them chased me," he told The Telegraph.

The attacker soon gave up and went back to stabbing the woman, after which all three attackers ran off to look for more targets.

Mr Vowls turned around and chased after the terrorists as they ran towards the Borough Market. He yelled at people to run away.

He also went on to throw "bottles, a chair, a stool, glasses... anything" at the attackers. 

Mr Vowls told reporters he had noticed one of the attackers was wearing what he thought was an explosive belt, but realised it was fake when he saw the duct tape stuck onto it. 

2. BAKER FLORIN MORARIU


Baker Florin Morariu used two bread crates to take on a terrorist during the London Bridge terror attacks. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FLORIN MORARIU

Mr Morariu had been working at the Bread Ahead bakery when he looked out of the window and saw people falling down.

He asked several distressed women to go into the shop and gave them water to drink, and they told him that people in the market were being stabbed by three men.

Instead of hiding, however, the Romanian baker responded instinctively by picking up two bread crates to confront the attackers.

He told the BBC: "I threw the first crate, I knew he was going to dodge it. And while he was dodging, I walked towards him and I hit him in the head with a second crate."

As he was engaging the terrorist, a policeman shouted at him to run away as they were about to throw a grenade, Mr Morariu said.

In a video posted on social media, Mr Morariu is also seen running through the streets assisting the wounded and asking passers-by for stuff that could be used as a weapon so that he could protect the injured. 

Despite his heroic actions, Mr Morariu said he does not want monetary rewards, and that he did not want to be a hero. He told the BBC: "My reaction was normal...(it could have been) my mother, my father... I felt pity for the person who was lying on the ground."

3. SKATEBOARDER IGNACIO ECHEVERRIA


'Skateboard hero' Ignacio Echeverría is missing after using his skateboard to defend a woman from a terrorist who was stabbing her. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/JOAQUIN ECHEVERRIA 

Mr Echeverria, a 39 year-old employee of HSBC Bank, was cycling with friends after skateboarding at a park when he saw a woman being stabbed.

Reports documented how he rushed to try and defend her from the terrorists, using his skateboard. 

In the chaos, however, he was apparently separated from his companions, and was last seen lying on the sidewalk. 

His family confirmed on June 7 that he had not survived the attacks.

4. JOURNALIST GEOFF HO


Chinese journalist Geoff Ho was sent to intensive care after being stabbed in the throat by the terrorists during his act of heroism. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/GEOFF HO

It had already been a hectic night for Mr Ho. The journalist at the Sunday Express is a regular at pubs in the Borough Market area.

He was at a nearby restaurant when the terrorists struck.

Most of the patrons and staff had hid under tables.

Mr Ho, described in reports as an expert in gongfu and kickboxing, later told The Telegraph: "I knew I had to face the attackers down, they were armed and I had the best chance of delaying them... or they’d get everyone."

He managed to hit one of the attackers before being stabbed in the throat.

Despite his injuries, Mr Ho pulled his friend into the restaurant's store room after the attackers had fled. Video footage of him walking calmly to an ambulance holding a makeshift bandage over his neck has since made its rounds on the web.

He is currently recovering from surgery in hospital.

5. FOOTBALL FAN ROY LARNER

Mr Larner, 47, is an avid fan of  English football club Millwall. He had been drinking in a pub when the three terrorists burst in, brandishing knives and chanting battle cries.

He responded with a battle cry of his own.

Mr Larner told The Sun: "I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘I’m Millwall'. So they started attacking me."

He was then stabbed and slashed in the head, chest, and both hands as he tried to grab and punch the attackers for about 20 to 30 seconds.

After the fight, the three attackers ran outside and Mr Larner followed them, watching as they were shot dead by police.

Mr Larner told Metro: "Okay, I got a good hiding from (the fight), but they're not alive, I am still." 

He is currently recovering from surgery in hospital, and his spirits remain high.

His friends, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to his heroics, bought him a running handbook with the following words plastered over the cover: "LEARN TO RUN".

 

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