Westminster Bridge terror attack survivor befriends police officer who rescued him

A survivor of the Westminster Bridge terror attack has formed a heartwarming friendship with the policeman who rescued him, but says he is still waking up in terror five years later. Keith Chapman, 66, of Stevenage, was thrown 15 feet in the air after jihadist assassin Khalid Masood’s 4×4 collided with him.

The devastating incident lasted 82 seconds, killing five and injuring at least 50 on March 22, 2017. Without the prompt actions of Met officer Joe Burrage, Keith’s traumatic injuries could have been much more serious.

Keith recounts how Joe gave him essential medical care, helped call his wife and took him to hospital – and how they kept in touch, with the PC taking him for a day out and even calling him for chats, the Sunday Mirror reports. “I think if you go through that kind of thing, the bond will stick,” says Keith, who is still sore from his wounds. “I’m so grateful I’m still alive. I will never forget what Joe did for me.”

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Keith, a pest controller, was walking across the bridge the day Masood started driving his car on pedestrians, killing Aysha Frade, 44, American vacationer Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Romanian tourist Andreea. Cristea, perished, 31. Grandpa Keith said: “I heard screams behind me. Then there was a crunch, I turned and saw a man, who I later knew was Kurt, hit by this speeding car.

“A second later the car was on top of me and I thought, ‘That’s it for me’. The car cracked me. I saw this white light, it felt like it could be the end. Everything went in slow motion. Then the pain and my survival instinct kicked in too. I tried to get on my hands and knees and get up. Then Joe came out of nowhere.

Emergency services on Westminster Bridge, close to the Palace of Westminster, London on March 22, 2017

“He was so calm and said, ‘Lie down or I’ll sit on you’. That advice probably saved me from even more serious injuries. If ever there was a guardian angel, it was him. All around me there was a man lying dead I later found out it was Leslie I looked the other way and realized the man whose fiancée Andreea had been beaten in the Thames couldn’t find her That was terrible His desperation is still hard to think about .”

Joe tried to keep Keith calm and helped him get in touch with wife Linda. Keith was then rushed to the emergency room where he had immediate surgery to save his shattered left leg.

He also had a fractured vertebra and a broken right arm and spent three weeks in hospital with what were described as life-changing injuries. British-born terrorist Masood, 52, then crashed into the gates at the Houses of Parliament at the end of the bridge. He ran to the Palace of Westminster and fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer with two knives before being shot by police, and died shortly afterwards.

‘I am living proof that terror has not won’

Keith Chapman and Joe after Joe took him on a tour of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge
Keith Chapman and Joe after Joe took him on a tour of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge

Keith, who has to walk with a cane, says his wounds still linger. “I wake up every morning with pain,” he said. “Every now and then I think, ‘Life would have been a lot easier if it wasn’t for that idiot’. But most mornings I feel so thankful that I’m still alive. I’m alive and Masood is dead. I am living proof that terror has not won.”

Keith asked police to show him CCTV footage of the attack and saw him “tossed into the air like a rag doll”. He has never felt able to return to London since the attack, not even before the unveiling of a memorial plaque on the bridge on Wednesday.

Through all his pain, the thoughtful Joe, from Cobham, Surrey, has kept in touch. Keith added: “It’s so uplifting. He didn’t have to. It’s so nice to have someone who went through it with me. I am a Chelsea fan and Joe even took me to Stamford Bridge for a tour. It was a nice touch.

“To this day, we often check on each other. I will never forget what he did for me. If it weren’t for some great people to help me on my way, I’d be in a much worse condition.”

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