One person has died and five others were injured after a car crashed into a Costa Coffee in Kent. The Audi smashed through the side entrance of the coffee shop in Westerham, Sevenoaks, and was embedded in the building.
The incident happened at about 10.30am on Thursday (24 December). South East Coast Ambulance Service confirmed one person was pronounced dead at the scene, with five others taken to hospital. Four were seriously injured.
According to local newspaper Sevenoaks Chronicle, the car was seen clipping vehicles before crashing through the Costa Coffee's side entrance. The car was said by eyewitnesses to have been driven by an elderly couple, with firefighters attending the scene having to cut off the Audi's roof to get them out.
The adjoining road in the town has been closed as police, fire crews and ambulances attend the scene. An air ambulance also landed in a nearby field.
Marc Price, a witness at the scene, wrote on his Facebook page: "The car that hit Costa went into the back of a stationary car at the crossing, shunted it out of the way and then went like a missile across the rear of the parked cars, over the pavement and into Costa. It was a horrendous thing to see."
Jilly Probert, a hairdresser at a salon near to Costa Coffee, said the person who died "was hit by the car [and] was thrown the other side of the counter". Writing on Facebook, she added: "The driver said all lights came on in car and the car accelerated itself and he lost control."
Ashton Taylor-Smith wrote on Facebook: "Dreadful scene to witness. I heard this tremendous bang and saw the black Audi hit the back of a van emerging from lodge lane at the end of the high st, then career into parked cars at the Grange, ricocheting into other cars, before ramming twice a silver car at the pedestrian crossing, pushing it side on. As the Audi passed me, lights flashing and car alarm sounding, I could see clearly the petrified elderly couple inside.
"Traveling at considerable speed the car mounted the pavement on the corner of the London Road, and ploughed head on, into the window of Costa Coffee, with an horrendous bang. It was as if I were witnessing a harrowing stunt from a movie. My heart goes out to those who were involved, and admiration to the remarkable people of Westerham who stepped in to help."
Passers-by took to social media to share pictures of the devastation:
A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 10.32am on Christmas Eve to an incident at Costa Coffee in the High Street in Westerham, Kent. More than a dozen ambulances attended the scene in total, including Critical Care Paramedics and one of our Hazardous Area Response Teams.
"Our clinicians treated six patients in total, including one patient who was sadly pronounced as deceased at the scene. Five further patients were treated at the scene and then taken to hospital.
"Two patients, an adult male and female, were taken by ambulance to St Georges Hospital in London, both with serious injuries. Two further patients, an adult male and female, were taken by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough – again both with serious injuries."
A Kent Police spokesperson said: "Kent Police were called at 10.32am on December 24 to reports a car had collided with a property in The Green, Westerham. Police officers, South East Coast Ambulance Service and Kent Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene and there are several reported injuries. The road has been closed."
Costa Coffee said in a statement: "We can confirm that a tragic accident occurred at our Westerham store this morning. Our thoughts are with the families who have been affected by this very sad and shocking event. We're working with emergency services to offer all possible support during rescue efforts. We are deeply shocked by what has happened."