The taxi driver who managed to escape from his car just before it burst into flames during a terrorist attack outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital has been praised for acting with “incredible presence of mind and bravery”.
David Perry fled the vehicle after it exploded outside the hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.
The passenger, who was picked up in the Rutland Avenue area of the city about 10 minutes’ drive from the hospital and has since been identified as Emad Al Swealmeen, detonated a homemade bomb as the car pulled into the hospital drop-off area.
Perry was injured but managed to escape and has since been released from hospital.
Here is everything you need to know.
What did David Perry do?
Footage apparently from a CCTV camera on the hospital site has been shared widely on social media but not verified by the hospital or the police.
The clip shows the vehicle explode before a man gets out from the driver’s door and flees, helped by a member of the public wearing a fluorescent vest. The car then bursts into flames.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson suggested that the driver had locked the doors to prevent the passenger escaping.
She said: “The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital.
The male passenger of the car was declared dead at the scene, while Perry received hospital treatment for his injuries and has since been discharged.
“Our thanks go to him and our emergency services,” added Anderson, and authorities have worked through the night to divert anything further and we’ve all been on standby and in constant contact to provide any support that’s needed.”
A friend of the driver claimed on Facebook that he had locked the man in the vehicle after apparently noticing an explosive device.
Another said Perry was left with “pretty serious injuries” after taking the “brunt of the blast”.
A security guard who helped the taxi driver said he called out for his wife moments after the attack.
Darren Knowles said he was pumping up the tyres on his car when David Perry’s taxi stopped outside the hospital shortly before 11am on Sunday and exploded moments later.
Knowles described hearing a “loud bang” believing it was a mechanical failure before seeing Mr Perry rush from the taxi.
He told the Mirror: “He was panicking and screaming, ‘Someone has blown me up. I want my wife’.
“He was trying to tell us, ‘There is a passenger, there is a passenger’.”
Who has praised him?
Johnson said: “It does look as though the taxi driver in question did behave with incredible presence of mind and bravery.”
The head of the NHS in England, Amanda Pritchard, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s absolutely right that we should also pay tribute to what seemed to be some very quick-thinking actions by David Perry, the taxi driver, whose actions may well have averted something much more serious.”
Is there a GoFundMe?
On fundraising site GoFundMe, a fund has been created to help Perry that has already surpassed its intended target of £20,000 and currently has over £34,000.
You can donate to it here.
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