Costa Coffee crash: One dead, five hurt, as car hits Kent cafe

Costa coffee car crash Image copyright Sally Pendleton
Image caption One person died, four were seriously injured and one suffered minor injuries in the crash

A woman has died and four people were seriously injured after a car ploughed into a coffee shop.

The woman, aged in her 70s, was declared dead at the scene after the Audi crashed into Costa on The Green, Westerham, Kent at 10:30 GMT.

South East Coast Ambulance (Secamb) said five more people were taken to hospital - four with serious injuries and one with minor injuries.

The A25 was shut in both directions while police investigated the incident.

The car could be seen embedded in one of the cafe's windows for some hours, before being taken away from the scene.

'People in shock'

Sally Pendleton, who is visiting Westerham for Christmas, arrived at the scene five minutes after the crash.

"We walked past and saw a car had just been lodged straight inside Costa Coffee," she said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionChief Inspector Roscoe Walford: "It's a very sad occasion"

"There was a man still in the car and probably about 12 people by the side of the Costa looking very much in shock.

"There were a few people who had been hurt and quite a few elderly people as well. It's a horrible thing to have happened, on Christmas Eve of all days."

'Driver lost control'

Secamb said a man and woman, both seriously injured, were taken by ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London.

Another seriously injured man and woman were taken to the Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough.

A woman with minor injuries was taken to Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Image copyright Peter Thornley
Image caption Westerham town centre was closed while emergency services were at the scene

Police set up a witness centre at The Grasshopper public house in Westerham High Street.

Ch Insp Roscoe Walford said the car came down the High Street and for unknown reasons lost control, mounted the footpath and went through the window of the cafe.

He said: "It is a very sad occasion for Christmas Eve and especially for the family of the lady who has died.

"We will do our very best to come to a conclusion of how this has happened and to help the family through it."

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it released two people from the car.

A spokesman for Costa Coffee said: "Our thoughts are with the victims and their families who have been affected by this very sad and shocking event.

"We're working with emergency services to offer all possible support during their rescue efforts. Our team are deeply shocked by what has happened."

At the scene: Nafisa Sayani, BBC South East Today reporter

On the day before Christmas, this High Street should have been buzzing with shoppers getting their last-minute gifts.

Instead, festive spirit has been replaced by a sombre atmosphere, as police, ambulance and fire crews investigate the crash.

The rear end of a black Audi pokes out from under a blue tarpaulin, almost completely lodged inside the coffee shop.

Police have said it appears the driver lost control further up the road before crashing through the window.

For now, the road remains closed while police continue their investigation.

Everyone I have spoken to in the town is in disbelief.

It has become a Christmas Eve many of them would rather forget.

Image copyright Peter Thornley
Image caption Crowds gathered outside the coffee shop after the car crashed into the Westerham cafe
Image caption The car crashed into the side window of the coffee shop

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