Aussie woman caught in station stampede
A young Aussie abroad has described the panic at Parsons Green Tube station
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.
Forensics officers work near a train stranded at the station