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article imageLondon terror attack: the victims

By Deborah COLE (AFP)     Jun 5, 2017 in World

The death toll from the weekend attack in London that saw three assailants mow down people on a bridge and then go on a stabbing spree rose to eight on Wednesday.

The dead include three Frenchmen, two Australians, a Canadian, a Spaniard and a Briton, reflecting the city's international population.

Here is what we know about the victims so far:

- Nurse who ran towards danger -

Australian staff nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, was killed as she ran to try to help the wounded in the attack on London Bridge, her family said in a statement.

"She was the most outgoing, kind and generous person," her family said.

"We are so proud of Kirsty's brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was."

- World traveller -

A second Australian was also killed, the country's foreign minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday, without naming the other victim.

Media identified her as Sara Zelenak, 21, who grew up in Brisbane.

She was due to go on a trip around Europe before heading home on August 8, her mother Julie Wallace -- who is in London -- was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying on Facebook.

"Unfortunately (this was) cut short by a senseless act of terrorism," added her mother. "It makes no sense."

The Herald said she had been on London Bridge with a friend after leaving a restaurant when they heard a van crash.

Within moments, three men jumped from the van and began stabbing pedestrians.

- Canadian died in fiance's arms -

Christine Archibald, a 30-year-old Canadian, died in her fiance Tyler Ferguson's arms after the van mowed her down on London Bridge.

"My baby brother lost the love of his life," Cassie Ferguson Rowe wrote on Facebook.

"In a split second his entire life was ripped away from him. Hearing his painful sobs on the phone while he's alone trying to deal with this tears me apart."

Her family said in a statement that she worked in a homeless shelter before moving to Europe to be with her fiance.

"She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death," they said.

- French bistro worker -

Frenchman Alexandre Pigeard, 26, was working as a waiter at Boro Bistro in Borough Market when he was stabbed.

His father Philippe Pigeard said his son's death was "an incredible injustice".

He was a "wonderful son, a perfect big brother," as well as a "shining young man," Pigeard told AFP by telephone.

- Romantic weekend -

British police said Wednesday that they had recovered a body from the Thames river believed to be that of 45-year-old Frenchman Xavier Thomas, missing since the night of the attack.

"Xavier was in London for the weekend with his girlfriend. They were walking south over London Bridge at around the time the attack started," police said.

Thomas's girlfriend was seriously injured after being hit by the attackers' van.

- High-flying chef -

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed the death of a man believed to be Sebastien Belanger, a 36-year-old chef.

Belanger worked at the Coq d'Argent -- a famous hangout for City workers in London's financial district.

He had reportedly been watching the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid and was enjoying a drink with friends outside the Boro Bistro.

- Stopped for a smoke -

James McMullan, a 32-year-old from Hackney, east London, was identified by a bank card found on his body, according to his sister.

He had been out with friends and had stepped outside for a smoke at a pub next to where the attackers crashed their van.

"While our pain will never diminish, it is important for us all to carry on with our lives in direct opposition to those who wish to destroy us and remember that hatred is the refuge of small-minded individuals," Melissa McMullan told Sky News television.

- 'Skateboard hero' -

Ignacio Echeverria, a 39-year-old Spaniard and an expert at HSBC in the fight against money-laundering, was spotted trying to defend a woman from one of the attackers with his skateboard.

British media quickly dubbed him the "skateboard hero".

"Ignacio didn't survive the attacks," Echeverria's sister Ana wrote on her Facebook page.

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