London — A possible terrorist attack may have been averted on Sunday by a heroic taxi driver in the northern England city of Liverpool. Video shows the moment a taxi pulled up to a hospital in the British city and exploded in a ball of flames. It emerged on Monday that the driver’s quick actions may have prevented a more serious tragedy.
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the taxi driver on Monday for bravery and presence of mind, and the Mayor of Liverpool said the driver had heroically averted what could have been an “awful disaster,” after apparently noticing his passenger’s suspicious behavior and locking the man in his car.
The good news is the taxi driver survived with relatively minor injuries. Security camera video posted online by the Liverpool Echo newspaper appears to show the taxi pulling in outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before a large explosion inside the car. The driver jumps out just before the taxi bursts into flames. Police have confirmed that the suspected terrorist in the vehicle died.
It was not yet clear on Monday morning what the motivation for the apparent attack was.
Officials said the investigation suggested an improvised explosive device was involved, and it was their assumption “that it was built by the passenger.”
British media reports named the quick-thinking taxi driver as David Perry. CBS News could not immediately confirm that, but amazingly, he was said to have suffered only minor injuries in the explosion, including cuts and a ruptured eardrum.
The incident occurred close to Liverpool’s cathedral, where a service was held on Sunday to remember the fallen soldiers from the two world wars. More than 1,000 people attended the service, but police said they could not yet confirm reports that the suspected terror attack might have initially been planned against the memorial.
Police arrested three men in Liverpool on Sunday in connection with the terrorist incident. Britain’s national counterintelligence agency MI5 was helping with the investigation, and multiple addresses around the city were still being searched on Monday.