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Death toll from London Bridge attack rises after body found in Thames

The number of victims of the London Bridge atrocity has risen to eight after police searching for a missing Frenchman recovered a body from the Thames.

Next of kin of Xavier Thomas, 45, missing since Saturday’s attack, have been informed, though no formal identification has yet taken place, the Metropolitan police said.

Those killed during the London Bridge attack include three French citizens, the French president said.

“We have had confirmation of the new death toll this morning,” Emmanuel Macron said on the steps of the Élysée palace. “As far as French nationals are concerned, there have indeed been three fatalities and eight wounded. We are paying a heavy price in these attacks.”

Six of those confirmed to have died have now been named by relatives.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said one of the French citizens who had previously been unaccounted for “has been identified among those who have died”.

French media reports identified him as Sébastien Bélanger, 36, who was reported missing by his girlfriend, Gerda Bennet.

Another French victim, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, who was working in a French restaurant in Borough Market, has also been named by French media as having died.

Thomas, who was in London for the weekend with his girlfriend, is believed to have been thrown into the river Thames after being struck by the speeding van driven along London Bridge in the attack.

The family of Sara Zelenak, 21, an au pair from Brisbane, who had been missing since being separated from friends in the chaos of the attack, has confirmed she is also among the dead.

Another Australian, Kirsty Boden, a 28-year-old nurse, died as she ran to help others during the attack. She worked as a theatre recovery nurse at Guy’s hospital.

“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life,” her family said in a statement.

Boden is one of four Australians said to have been caught up in the terror attack.

As the process of identifying victims continues, Spanish authorities are still awaiting news of Ignacio Echeverría. a 39-year-old missing HSBC banker. The Spanish foreign ministry has said they have no update, and are urging the British authorities to speed up the identification process.

The victims

Christine Archibald, 30, a Canadian, and Londoner James McMullan, 32, were the first victims to be named by family members.

On Monday the family of McMullan, who had been on a night out, said they believed he was among the victims. Although his body has not been formally identified, his sister Melanie McMullan said in a statement that his bank card had been found on a body at the scene, and that the family expected official confirmation on Wednesday.

McMullan was described by his sister as “someone who put friends and family above all else”. She insisted that the family would not be drawn into hatred by the atrocity. “While our pain will never diminish, it is important for us to carry on with our lives in direct opposition to those who would try to destroy us, and remember that hatred is the refuge of small-minded individuals, and will only breed more,” she said. “This is not a course we will follow, despite our loss.”

Kirsty Boden

Boden had been working in London since 2013. In a statement, her family said: “Kirsty was loved and adored by her family, friends and boyfriend. She was the most outgoing, kind and generous person who loved to help people. Helping people was what she loved to do in her job as a nurse and in her daily life.

“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life. We are so proud of Kirsty’s brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was, not only on that night, but throughout all of her life. Kirsty – we love you and we will miss you dearly.”

She was a keen traveller and in a blog described herself as “just your average dreamer, with a full-time job and a constant longing to go where I haven’t been”. Recent posts were from Milan, Sofia, Lisbon and Kiev, for the 2017 Eurovision song contest. Urging others to travel, she had written: “At the risk of sounding cliche, life is short and we should all use the time we have wisely,” The Age reported.

Paying tribute, Dame Eileen Sills, the chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust said: “Kirsty was an outstanding nurse and a hugely valued member of the staff team in Theatres Recovery, described by her colleagues as ‘one in a million’ who always went the extra mile for the patients in her care.

James McMullan

James McMullan, from Hackney in east London, had not been seen since he stepped outam in Thr body found in Thames