A terror attack in London claimed five casualties before the attacked was shot dead yesterday.
Miss Cook Islands Tajiya Sahay and other Miss World beauty pageant contestants were rehearsing several hundred metres away at The Tower Hotel when the incident took place at 2pm, UK time.
A man and a woman were killed in the attack and three others were injured and hospitalised.
Sahay said: “We were at dance rehearsal when one of the Miss World executives came in and informed us an accident had happened at London Bridge. And friends and family thought it was the Tower Bridge where we were staying.
“As soon as we heard we looked up the news we couldn't believe it was so close to us, it did make us really worried.
“But we have a lot of people around us watching over us but still just crazy to think you never know what can happen. Makes me sad for those involved.”
Tajiya’s mother Ruth, who leaves the country next week to support the daughter, hopes the security is tightened.
“I hope there’s no more trouble like that while we are there,” Ruth said.
British police have identified the attacked as Usman Khan, 28.
Khan was convicted in 2012 for terrorism offenses and was released from prison last year with an ankle monitor, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement.
Basu said the suspect was shot by specialist armed officers and he died at the scene. The suspect had a fake bomb strapped to him when he was shot, police said.
“The circumstances, as we currently understand them, are that the attacker attended an event earlier on Friday afternoon at Fishmonger’s Hall called ‘Learning Together’. We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge, where he was detained and subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers,” Basu said.
Video filmed by a bystander shows a man being wrestled to the ground by several bystanders on the northern end of the bridge, shortly after police were called to Fishmonger’s Hall.
Tom Gray, a tour guide who tried to apprehend the suspect, told ITV the attacker was “wielding two knives, one was duct taped to his hand.”
After other bystanders had held the suspect down, Gray said he tried to “stamp the other knife from his wrist” and then kicked it further down the bridge.
Lloyd Griffiths, 35, who was on a bus on the bridge, told ITV he saw the attacker had a large blade.
“I saw a shine on a knife or metal blade, it was startling. It was large blade, it wasn’t small, and then I was locked on the bus, people tried to tackle to man trying to fight him, ordinary people jumping out of the car, trying to fight him,” Griffiths said
“Then police ran over with guns, screaming,” before shooting the man.
The incident comes more than two years after eight people were killed and dozens more wounded in a similar terror attack at London Bridge.