Aussie woman caught in sta­tion stam­pede

A young Aussie abroad has de­scribed the panic at Par­sons Green Tube sta­tion

The Weekend Australian - - WORLD - RHIAN DEUTROM

A morn­ing com­mute into London turned into a night­mare for an Aus­tralian woman who de­scribed the hor­ror she wit­nessed on board the District Line train through Par­sons Green yes­ter­day.

Lucy Stead­man, 24, of Bris­bane, has lived in London for the past three years and works in the city in pub­lic re­la­tions.

Ms Stead­man and her part­ner, Fabian, 29, catch the train through Par­sons Green to work each day, along with hundreds of other busy commuters.

“My boyfriend and I had just got onto the Tube, one stop be­fore Put­ney Bridge to go to work, so it was like any other morn­ing re­ally,” Ms Stead­man said.

“I was run­ning a bit late for work so al­most left with­out him to make up time, but de­cided to wait in the end.”

The cou­ple had been chat­ting about their plans for Fri­day evening and what they would do on the week­end when their train pulled into Par­sons Green.

“We were stand­ing close to the doors of the tube and then I heard some hor­ri­ble scream­ing and saw peo­ple sprint­ing down the plat­form to­ward the exit,” she said.

“The sta­tion only has one stair­case out so peo­ple were rush­ing for that. I pan­icked and ran for that too, think­ing Fabian was just be­hind me but we got sep­a­rated.”

Ms Stead­man fran­ti­cally searched for her part­ner, but the stam­pede of pan­icked commuters had pushed them fur­ther apart.

“At that point, I didn’t know what had hap­pened yet and I thought it might be some­one with a gun or a knife, so I wasn’t sure if the threat was still there or not,” she said.

“I just had to fo­cus on stay­ing up­right be­cause I could see peo­ple in front of me fall­ing and get­ting tram­pled on.”

The crowd be­came so chaotic that Ms Stead­man saw a man leap over the crowd to try to get ahead of the oth­ers.

“At some point too many peo­ple had fallen down so we couldn’t move on any fur­ther and some­one at the bot­tom of the stairs was yel- ling ‘go back, go back’,” she said. “I thought there may have been dan­ger at the sta­tion en­trance too”.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Stead­man, the ter­ri­fied crowd was stuck on the plat­form, des­per­ate to es­cape, as the sta­tion filled with smoke and flames from the home­made bomb, planted on the floor of the front car­riage.

“When it be­came clear the im­me­di­ate threat was gone, we started help­ing peo­ple who had fallen on the stairs,” she said.

“There were peo­ple’s be­long­ing scat­tered ev­ery­where, phones, shoes, work lunches, hand­bags and all sorts,

“I started pick­ing up peo­ple’s tings and tak­ing them down­stairs as peo­ple were pour­ing out of the stairs in tears”.

Ms Stead­man used one of the phones she picked up to call its owner’s mother to “let her know what had hap­pened”.

Af­ter she found her part­ner, who had also es­caped se­ri­ous in­jury, the two left the sta­tion and have been try­ing to come to terms with the emer­gency.

“It all hap­pened so fast and I think I’m still shak­ing,” she said.

“I no­ticed dirt on me and feel like I might have bruises from the stam­pede but noth­ing se­ri­ous,” she said.

AFP

Foren­sics of­fi­cers work near a train stranded at the sta­tion

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