Four taken to hospital after military horses break loose in central London | London

Four people have been taken to hospital after several military horses broke loose during a morning exercise and bolted through central London, colliding with vehicles.

Astonished witnesses described “total mayhem” as the runaway horses, including one white horse drenched in blood, ran through the rush-hour streets.

Two horses were seen running in the road near Aldwych. One collided with a parked taxi outside the Clermont Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road, smashing the windows of the Mercedes people carrier. One horse also crashed into a parked doubledecker tour bus, smashing the windscreen.

A group of seven horses and six soldiers from the Household Cavalry based at Hyde Park barracks were on an extended exercise in Belgravia on Wednesday at about 8.40am when chaos erupted.

Four service personnel were thrown from their horses and five of the animals got loose. It is understood that three soldiers were assessed in hospital for their injuries, which were not thought to be serious.

All of the animals were eventually contained.

Two of the horses were caught near Limehouse tunnel, about five miles away. Pictures and videos shared on social media showed a black 4×4 with blue lights following two of the horses between Tower Bridge and the tunnel.

A doubledecker tour bus was damaged after one of the horses crashed into it. Photograph: Ben Cawthra/LNP

The BBC reported that that the noise of builders moving concrete in Belgravia might have initially spooked the animals.

London ambulance service said it had received three calls from separate locations about the horses: the first at 8.25am of a person being thrown from a horse on Buckingham Palace Road; the second two minutes later at nearby Belgrave Square where two people were injured; and a third at 8.35am at the junction of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, with a fourth person taken to hospital.

One witness, Roland, described the chaotic scenes near Victoria, saying: “I saw horses come from the bus station in front of Victoria run around in a frenzy. People were running around to avoid them – it was total mayhem.”

A bus worker, named as Mahmood, said: “One of the horses bumped into a bus, then everything got out of control. I saw two horses without riders gallop away. One rider managed to calm his horse down. An ambulance went to assist another rider who had been injured.”

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA

A cab driver, called Robbie, described how he narrowly avoided being hit: “I was just outside Buckingham Palace on the Mall and heard loads of galloping and looked behind and there were about three or four horses. Two of them were sprinting up towards Trafalgar Square and there was a white one covered in blood as well,” he told BBC Radio London.

“I looked in the rear mirror and saw them coming right up behind me, and at the time I had two punters in the back so I was worried about them. Luckily they swerved towards the middle of the road and carried on, but they were going at some speed.”

Another cab driver, Sean, described seeing three horses gallop towards Buckingham Palace.

He told BBC Radio London: “I pulled out of Buckingham Palace Road, there one of the riders was on the road on his back being tended to. There was a Mercedes Vito parked outside the Grosvenor Hotel with its side smashed in and covered in blood. All the windows were smashed so I am guessing the white horse has hit that running into it.”

Bashir Aden, 48, a construction worker, told the Telegraph: “I saw a soldier falling down into the street after the horse ran into a car. One of my colleagues called the police. The man hit the floor hard, he was screaming in pain. You could see blood all over the parked car.”

A black horse appears to collide with a London taxi in Aldwych, central London. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA

Megan Morra, another witness, was walking to work between Buckingham Palace and Victoria station at 8.35am when she saw police officers “running through the street”, and another walking a “very bloody” black horse down the path. The horse “appeared to have a head injury”.

“There was a lot of blood,” she told BBC News. “I was a bit distressed to be honest, looking at the poor horse.”

An army spokesperson said: “A number of military working horses became loose during routine exercise this morning. All of the horses have now been recovered and returned to camp. A number of personnel and horses have been injured and are receiving the appropriate medical attention.”

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