“Thank you to all of you who loved him and took care of him,” Ana Echeverría wrote on her Facebook profile, shortly after 4pm on Wednesday. “We know that we’re not the only ones who are sad. We want to see and be with Ignacio’s body. It seems that until Friday at the earliest we won’t be able to be with his body. We want the British government to let us be with him... Thanks [in advance] to the Spanish administrative and political personnel for their help in making this possible.”
Echeverría, 39, who worked for HSBC bank, was last seen on the night of the attack in the UK capital. His family says he was returning from a park where he had been skating with friends, when the group witnessed a man stabbing a woman in the area of Borough Market, near London Bridge.
Echeverría’s friends said he was the only one among them who stopped to help the woman under attack, and that he faced up to the assailant.
“At that point he jumped off his bike and hit the assailant with his skateboard,” said a member of his family. The last time his friends saw him, he was “lying on the ground after defending the woman with his skateboard. He was brave, getting involved to save the woman.”
He had been missing ever since, prompting the Spanish authorities to pressure their UK counterparts into speeding up the identification of the bodies of the people killed in the attack
Echeverría’s father had said on Tuesday that the family was highly pessimistic about the chances of his son being found alive.
In the end, the identification of the body was possible thanks to a DNA test, given that fingerprint test was inconclusive. The Spanish ambassador in London was charged with communicating the news to the family.
A total of eight people have now been confirmed to have died in the attacks, which saw three men drive a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, before embarking on a stabbing rampage in the Borough Market area. A total of 48 people were injured, 21 of whom are in a very serious condition.