WITHIN eight minutes of their attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market, all three terrorists had been shot dead.

Their sudden, bloody but brief attack, by vehicle and blade, which left seven dead and 48 in hospital, began at around 10pm on a balmy Saturday night.

Londoners, visitors and tourists were out celebrating the warm weather, watching the Champions League final, and enjoying the bars and restaurants of Borough Market in Southwark, a popular, densely-built area close to the south bank of the Thames.

First, the attackers' white van, driving south, ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge, with ambulances and police called to the scene not long after 10.07.

Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, saw the white van, travelling at around 50mph, veer off the road and into pedestrians on the pavement.

The van then stopped, or crashed, outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub on Borough High Street, and the three attackers ran down steps, along Green Dragon Court, and headed to Borough Market.

One of the first of many emergency service personnel to rush to the scene was a British Transport Police (BTP) officer, who faced all three armed only with his baton: he is now in a serious condition in hospital - four officers in total were injured in the attack, including an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer.

Chief Constable Paul Crowther said of the BTP officer: "He showed enormous courage in the face of danger, as did many others who were at the scene and rushed to help.

"For an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud."

The attackers plan, if they had one, seem to have been to try to kill and maim as many people as possible with their knives in the closely packed streets, whilst sowing further fear and alarm by wearing fake suicide bomber gear.

They ran into the Black and Blue restaurant on Stoney Street, attacking people there, as well as the El Pastor restaurant on the same street. They were seen repeatedly stabbing a young woman.

In the streets, people began to run and warn others, while in pubs and restaurants, they hid behind and under furniture, whilst others attempted to take them on, throwing chairs, bottles and other items - one man threw a bike - at the terrorists, while restaurateurs tried to lower their shutters and urged customers to hide.

London Ambulance Service took more than 100 emergency calls about the attack as it unfolded.

As the incident was under way, the London Metropolitan police issued the 'run, hide, tell' alert through social media, warning people in the area to run away from any threat, rather than surrender or attempt to negotiate.

If that wasn’t possible, they should instead hide, turn their phone to silent and barricade themselves in before calling police.

One eyewitness, who had been watching the Champions League soccer final at the Ship pub in Borough Market, said: "I threw something at them, maybe like a stool, a chair," he said. "Then they ran towards me to try and stab me so I ran away because I knew if I would have slipped over I would be a dead man."

Another man, working as a chef at a nearby restaurant called Fish, said: "We were shouting ‘stop, stop’ and people threw chairs at them."

Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, said she had "heard truly remarkable stories of extraordinarily brave actions by officers on and off duty who were first on the scene."

She added: "I also heard of colleagues from other emergency services and members of the public who ran towards the danger as this incident unfolded. Many of these people risked their own safety to help others and treat those seriously injured... It's clear to me that the courage of those people during and following the attack was extraordinary and I pay tribute to all of them."

A couple were outside the market when they saw a man, with a blade around 10 inches long, stabbing another.

"It looked like the man had been trying to intervene, but there wasn't much he could do. He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground," one of them said.

Alex Shellum was in The Mudlark pub, close to London Bridge, when a woman in her early 20s "staggered" inside.

"She was bleeding heavily from the neck and from her mouth," he said.

"It appeared to myself and to my friends that her throat had been cut. People went to her aid."

Journalist Geoff Ho was stabbed at the nearby Southwark Tavern, and witnesses saw injured people in the Mudlark pub.

Police arrived on the scene, and went through bars and restaurants searching for the knifemen as staff and citizens hid.

However, within ten minutes of the attack unfolding, all three knifemen had been killed.

By 10.16, after minutes of chaos and murder, all three attackers, all male, had been shot dead, brought down by marksmen near the Wheatsheaf Pub, also on Stoney Street.

A photographer took a picture showing people lying on the ground outside the Wheatsheaf pub - one of whom appeared to have canisters strapped around his waist.

Medical help began to arrive at the scene - more than 80 medical staff were sent to Southwark.