Dutch dad got phone call from panicked teen witnessing London attack

Flowers left at a police station in London for a police officer killed in the London Attack on 22 Mar 2017
Flowers left at a police station in London for a police officer killed in the London Attack on 22 Mar 2017Photo: @andylapworth / Twitter

Seventeen year old twins Sem and Jady were two of a group of Dutch kids who witnessed the terrorist attack at Westminster in London on Wednesday. Panicking, Sem called home and reached his father. "Such a call will scare you to death", father Leo van der Hoeven said to RTL Nieuws.

Sem and Jady were in London with their class for a week long field trip. Just after 4:00 p.m. their parents got a call from Sem. "At that time we still had no idea what was going on in London. We were on vacation for a few days ourselves." Leo said to the broadcaster. "My wife picked up and it was Sem, completely panicked. It scared us nearly to death."

Sem said that he just saw a stabbing, but it that it was so much more. He thought it must be an attack. This got Leo and his wife also in a panic, especially because daughter Jady was not with Sem. "The group broke up So we did not know if Jady was safe." The uncertainty luckily only lasted 15 minutes. Jady too called home. "It was the longest 15 minutes of my life." Leo said.

Jady saw the perpetrator stab a policeman from very close by. The police officer died of his injuries. Two other pedestrians were killed and the perpetrator himself was gunned down by the police. 29 people were injured, including three police officers and a number of French students. No one in the twins' class was hurt. 

The school is cutting the trip short and the kids will likely be back in the Netherlands by Thursday night. "I understand that the school arranged victims support. Yesterday all the students came together to talk to each other. The school is handling it well, but I'll be happier when I can hug my kids again."

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