Runshaw College students on a trip to London were in the area moments before the Westminster Bridge suspected terrorist attack.
The college announced through its Twitter account that students on a social science and law trip were “fine” and that they are “hoping to return home as scheduled.”
Student Lucy Cottier wrote: “So scary thinking that we could have been caught up in this terrorist attack”, but added that everyone was safe.
The incident, which is being described by Scotland Yard as “a terrorist attack, until we know otherwise”, involved one male who drove into pedestrians on the pavement of Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the perimeter fence of the Houses of Parliament and stabbing an on-duty police officer with a large knife.
The attacker, who was shot by a plain-clothed armed officer shortly after, was described as a middle-aged male.
Preston MP Mark Hendrick wrote: “Thoughts [are] with the families of killed/injured in today’s incidents.”
He added that “colleagues [are] still locked in the Chamber near my office, near the special gallery”.
What the Met have to say
Commander BJ Harrington of New Scotland Yard said: “Since 14:40hrs this afternoon (Wednesday, 22 March) the MPS has responded to an incident in the area of Parliament Square, and the Senior National Coordinator has declared this a terrorist incident.
“And although we remain open minded to the motive, a full counter-terrorism investigation is already underway – this is led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
“At this stage, I will confirm what we know has happened, but I will not speculate.
“We received a number of different reports – which included a person in the river, a car in collision with pedestrians and a man armed with a knife.
“Officers were already in the location as part of our routine policing operation. Immediately, additional officers were sent to the scene and that included firearms officers.
“We are working closely with the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade.
“There is an ongoing investigation being led by the Counter Terrorism Command and we would ask anybody who has images or film of the incident to pass those to police.
“We know that there are a number of causalities, including police officers, but at this stage, we cannot confirm numbers or the nature of these injuries.
“Our response will be ongoing for some time as it is important that we gather all possible information and evidence.
“Public safety is our top priority and we are reviewing our policing stance across London and throughout the course of this afternoon, there will be additional police and officers deployed across the Capital.
“I would like to ask the public to remain vigilant and let us know if they see anything suspicious that causes them concern and dial 999 immediately.”