Thursday, December 24, 2015

Westerham Costa Coffee crash: Updates after car ploughs into cafe packed with Christmas shoppers leaving one dead

One person has been killed and five people injured after a car ploughed into a cafe full of Christmas shoppers.
A black Audi smashed into the side of Costa Coffee on the High Street in Westerham, Kent.
Witnesses say an elderly couple were in the car. Four of those injured are said to be in a serious condition.
Read below for live updates.

Harrowing picture shows injured woman

An unidentified woman being treated at the sence where several people were injured in a horror Christmas Eve crash after a car ploughed into a coffee shop packed with people
This horrific picture shows an injured woman being treated in the grim aftermath of today’s accident.
Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Roscoe Walford tonight told BBC News: “At 10.30am a black Audi car came down Westerham High Street and for reasons unknown at this time the driver lost control, mounted the footpath and went through the window of the cafe injuring several people and fatally injuring one elderly lady.
“It is a very sad occasion for Christmas Eve and especially for the family of the lady who has died.
“We will do our very best to come to a conclusion of how this has happened and to help the family through it. “

Driver describes being shunted by Audi

Darren Thomas, 42, an electrical engineer from Harrow, north London said: “I was coming up to the Zebra crossing and I was shunted by this car from behind.
“I swerved and avoided three people on the crossing and the car that hit me carried on driving. “I got out of my car because I thought the driver was driving off without leaving his details, then I saw him go off the road and smash into Costa.
“He was doing some speed because he shunted me about seven metres forward.
“I think he must have been doing around 60mph when he hit Costa. “The coffee shop was packed, it was raining at the time so there was a lot of people who had gone in there to get away from the rain. “I went inside and there was brick dust everywhere, it was chaos.
“There was people screaming and running around, the police arrived quite quickly and then the emergency services moved everyone back and cordoned it all off.
“The driver looked elderly.”

'Driver was 88 years-old'

The driver of the car that smashed through the coffee shop window is 88, it has been reported by the Telegraph.
He and his passenger were among five injured in the crash - four of them seriously - and taken to hospital when he lost control of the car.
Earlier today witnesses said an elderly man and woman were pulled from the crashed car.

Former Costa worker says staff are fine

A former worker at the Costa at the centre of today’s tragedy has tweeted that the staff are uninjured and safe.
Emma, a mum of two, wrote: “Used to work at Costa Westerham. My most favourite job. Staff all ok and accounted for. Loads of love to Zoe & team. Xx”
Used to work at Costa Westerham. My most favourite job. Staff all ok and accounted for. Loads of love to Zoe & team. Xx
— Emma (@emma_cant_tweet) December 24, 2015

'Victim was sitting with family'

Kent Online has reported that the woman was sitting with her family in the window of the shop.
A witness centre has been set up at nearby The Grasshopper pub for anyone with information about today’s tragedy.
The entire road has been cordoned off by police investigators.

Police speak on investigation

Speaking outside the cafe, Chief Inspector Walford said the fact the vehicle clipped two other cars before crashing into the Costa suggested the driver had experienced a medical condition before the final collision.
We are looking at a number of hypothesis , whether it be the medical condition of the driver – he had a medical episode – or he lost control, or some other reason. We will look at that very closely and hopefully come to a conclusion. We will provide the family of the victim with the best support so they can understand what happened. We are going to forensically examine the scene and look at the route the vehicle’s taken – he has crashed into several cars on the way down – so careful examination of that and the entire scene. Witness accounts and statements will be taken from those that saw what happened and eventually the driver of the car will be interviewed to find out exactly what’s happened.

Vehicle 'hit other cars before smashing into coffee shop'

Police have said that the vehicle hit other cars before smashing into the Costa Coffee.
In the next few hours police will remove the car from the scene.

'People were hurt and in shock'

Eyewitness Sally Pendleton has spoken to Kent Online.
She passed the coffee shop in the aftermath of the crash.
There was a man still in the car - he seemed OK but a few people were hurt and in shock.

What we know so far

  1. One person has died, while five were injured after a car smashed into a Costa Coffee
  2. Among the victims, four suffered “serious” injuries
  3. One eyewitness said they thought “it was a bomb”
  4. The person who died ‘is woman in her 70s’ and her family have been informed
  5. A Costa Coffee spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the families who have been affected by this very sad and shocking event”

Ann Summers boss tweets about devastation over accident

The boss of Ann Summers has told of her devastation over the accident.
Jacqueline Gold has tweeted to say she lived in Westerham for ten years.
She also suggests the driver had a heart attack and the crash left two people dead.
The emergency services have so far confirmed that one person has died and have not said why the crash took place.

Witness: 'I thought it was a bomb'

An eyewitness has described how she thought a bomb had gone off when the car crashed into the coffee shop.
Pharmacist Yasmin Mahmmod, 29, who works in a chemist’s opposite the scene rushed across to help the injured and found one woman had tragically died.
She said: “It was around 10.30am, I heard a huge sound, I thought it was a bomb.
“I didn’t see the car go through the shop but when I looked over it was hanging out of the side.
“I ran across to see if I could help, I am trained in first aid. When I got inside it was just dust everywhere, I couldn’t see much but I
heard people screaming.
“The police and all the emergency services were called and came quickly to help.
“People were running around because they thought people might have been under the car, but it hasn’t been moved so I don’t think anyone is or was.
“I have first aid training so my instincts kicked in. I didn’t see the driver because it was so dusty in there, but I’m sure I saw a man in the car and maybe a woman in the back but I can’t be 100 per cent sure.
“It’s just a shock that it’s happened but I’m back in work now as its a busy day and I’ve left the emergency services to it.
“It is a horrible thing to happen, especially this time of year.”

Listen as eyewitness describes horror at scene

A witness has described the chaotic scenes following the crash.
Speaking to KMFM News, Sam Holroyd says he saw a woman crying hysterically outside the cafe in the moments after the crash.
He also describes large numbers of emergency vehicles at the scene.13:52

Police say family of victim have been informed over death

Police have confirmed the family of the victim has been informed.
Chief Inspector Roscoe Walford, from Kent Police, said: “A black Audi was travelling down Westerham High Street when, for reasons unknown, it travelled along the footpath and into the window of the coffee shop where people were drinking coffee and celebrating Christmas eve.
“We will be carrying on our investigations for a good few hours.
“The family of the deceased have been informed.”

Person who died 'is woman in her 70s'

The person who died following the horror crash is believed to be a woman in her 70s.
Witnesses also say the driver of the Audi appeared to collapse before crashing into the cafe, Kent Online reported.
Five people were injured with four in a serious condition.

Costa: 'Our thoughts are with the families of those affected'

Costa has now spoken about the accident.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that a tragic accident occurred at our Westerham store this morning.
“Our thoughts are with the families who have been affected by this very sad and shocking event.”
“We’re working with the emergency services to offer all possible support during the rescue efforts. We are deeply shocked by what has happened.”

Ambulance service confirm one person has died and four seriously injured

It has now been confirmed that one person has died and five others injured following the crash.
Four of those injured are in a serious condition while one has minor injuries.
A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were called at 10.32am on Christmas Eve to an incident at Costa Coffee in the High Street in Westerham, Kent.
“More than a dozen ambulances attended the scene in total, including Critical Care Paramedics and one of our Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART).
“Our clinicians treated six patients in total, including one patient who was sadly pronounced as deceased at the scene.
“Five further patients were treated at the scene and then taken to hospital.
A car embedded in the front of a Costa coffee store in Westerham
“Two patients, an adult male and female, were taken by ambulance to St Georges Hospital in London, both with serious injuries.
“Two further patients, an adult male and female, were taken by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough – again both with serious injuries.
“An adult female with minor injuries was also taken by ambulance to Pembury Hospital.
“Our thoughts are with all those involved in and affected by this very sad incident.
“Our colleagues at Kent Police have set up a witness centre at The Grasshopper pub in The Green, Westerhamand anyone with information is asked to visit the centre and speak to officers.”

Pictures show how car ploughed into side of coffee shop

More pictures are now emerging from the scene - showing how the car ploughed into the side of the cafe.
In this picture below, a fireman can be seen inspecting the vehicle.
The car can be seen embedded in the side of the Costa coffee store
Tables and chairs were people would have been sat enjoying a warm drink just moments earlier can be seen close to the car.
It is still not known what caused the car to crash into the cafe.
Tables and chairs were people would have been sat can be seen near the car

Costa staff 'totally beside themselves'

Jayram Sinha, manager of Tulsi restaurant, on the same road as Costa, said: “The window is smashed.
“The car was fully in the cafe, it is an Audi A4 sports car. 
The road is totally closed from London Road up.
A postman came in and said people have died. I saw a fire brigade and ambulance. “
A shop worker at Chocs on the Green said: “We heard a bang, people were rushing out.
“It was an older gentleman. He was conscious when i saw him.
“I spoke to the staff at Costa, they are totally beside themselves.
“The road is still closed. there are still emergency services.
“It is very subdued.”

Witnesses say elderly man and woman were in crashed car

Witnesses say an elderly man and woman were pulled from the crashed car.
There were also several people seen with injuries including one elderly woman who was covered in blood.
Elle Akerman added: “I saw an old woman by the car - she had blood on her and was crying.”
Mark Heathcote, 45, lives in nearby Shoreham, Kent, was at the scene of the crash, but didn’t see it happen.
Mark said: “I was literally about 50 yards down the road when it happened.
“As I came up the street there was a lot of activity outside Costa.
“They were starting to bring people out, there were at least four people with blood on their faces.
“Everyone seemed to be walking, they were in shock.
Peter Thornley / Twitter
Emergency services can be seen at the scene
“At first I thought the ceiling had collapsed, I couldn’t figure out what had happened but then I saw the car.
“There were people in there trying to clear the tables out the way to bring people out.
“I went round to where the car had come through, the driver and passenger were both very elderly and conscious.
“At least one airbag had gone off, there was a massive mess, he must have hit at least three tables by the window.
“It hit the window square on, if it had been a couple more feet either side it would have just hit the wall.
“The driver and passenger couldn’t get out the car.
“Moments after it had happened there was somebody telling the driver and passenger not to move, and to try and calm down.”
“The emergency services turned up quite quickly after several people had called them.”

Dramatic pictures show devastation at scene

These dramatic pictures show the devastation from the scene.
The cafe was packed with Christmas shoppers enjoying a warm drink.
Mark Heathcote
The blacK Audi can be seen in the front of the cafe
But a black Audi suddenly ploughed into the front of the shop.
The road close to the cafe is completely blocked off, with locals saying ten ambulances are on the scene.
Sky news
An aerial view of the scene

One person feared dead

Jilly Probert, 47, a hairdresser at Fringe Benefits said she spoke with a paramedic who attended the incident.
She told MirrorOnline: “[It was] A chap in a car, an old boy and his wife, all the [car] lights came on and it accelerated on its own and he lost control he hit a red car and a bollard and crashed into the cafe.”
One lady is dead. She was sitting having a coffee. She flew off her chair and over the counter.
“He said there was four others injured, with gashes to their heads.
“They are cutting out the car now.
“It is the busiest Costa ever, it is always packed and mobbed with kids. It was absolutely packed. It’s amazing more people weren’t killed.
“We heard a big explosion. The streets were flooded. People were looking around, people were crying.
“It took minutes for the ambulance to get there. A paramedic who lived down the road and was off-duty he ran up. It’s terrible.”

Several people hurt after car ploughs into coffee shop

Several people have been seriously hurt after a car ploughed into a Costa Coffee shop in a market town.
Dramatic pictures reveal how an Audi ploughed into the small cafe in Westerham, Kent, this morning.
Emergency services are on the scene including fire and ambulance.
Witnesses reported seeing the car clipping other vehicles before it hit the Costa.
Bridget Rowe, who lives on the next corner, told the Sevenoaks Chronicle it sounded “like a bomb had gone off”.
It is not known how many people have been injured.