‘I heard a boom and when I looked, there were flames all around the car­riage’

Irish Examiner - - News -

Ter­ri­fied pas­sen­gers de­scribed see­ing vic­tims cov­ered in blood as peo­ple scram­bled to evac­u­ate af­ter an ex­plo­sion on a Lon­don Un­der­ground train.

Com­muter Peter Crow­ley suf­fered burns to his head af­ter flames swept through a packed car­riage at Par­sons Green sta­tion.

“A fire­ball above my head has come and singed all my hair,” he told BBC News.

“I’ve got burn marks on the top of my head and ev­ery­one just ran off the train. It was quite scary.”

Syl­vain Pen­nec, a soft­ware de­vel­oper from South­fields, said fire filled the car­riage.

“I heard a boom and when I looked, there were flames all around,” he said.

“Peo­ple started to run but we were lucky to be stop­ping at Par­sons Green as the door started to open.”

He de­scribed the scene of panic as com­muters strug­gled to es­cape the car­riage, “col­laps­ing and push­ing” each other.

Pen­nec stayed be­hind to take a closer look at what he be­lieved was the source of the ex­plo­sion.

“It looked like a bucket of may­on­naise,” he said.

“I’m not sure if it was a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion or some­thing else, but it looked home-made. I’m not an expert though.”

Me­dia tech­nol­ogy con­sul­tant Richard Aylmer-Hall was sit­ting on the ser­vice bound for cen­tral Lon­don when panic un­folded at around 8.20am. He said he saw sev­eral peo­ple in­jured, hav­ing ap­par­ently been tram­pled as they tried to es­cape.

He said: “I was on the Tube, we had just stopped at Par­sons Green, I was on my way up from Wim­ble­don to­wards Padding­ton and sud­denly there was panic, lots of peo­ple shout­ing, scream­ing, lots of scream­ing. It was an ab­so­lutely packed, rush-hour Dis­trict Line train from Wim­ble­don to Edg­ware Road.

“I saw cry­ing women, there was lots of shout­ing and scream­ing, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs go­ing down to the streets.

“Some peo­ple got pushed over and tram­pled on, I saw two women be­ing treated by am­bu­lance crews,” he said.

Aaron But­ter­field, a pro­duc­tion man­ager, said he saw peo­ple “crawl­ing over one an­other” in panic as they tried to get out of the sta­tion.

“Peo­ple weren’t even run­ning, they were lit­er­ally crawl­ing over one an­other and just flee­ing I guess. It’s been re­ally fright­en­ing and very con­fus­ing es­pe­cially as no-one re­ally knows what’s go­ing on,” he said.

Chris Wild­ish, who was on the train, said he saw a “de­vice” in the last car­riage.

“It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket,” he told BBC 5 live.

“Flames were still com­ing out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hang­ing out of it. I can only as­sume it was done on pur­pose.

“It was stand­ing against the door of the rear-most car­riage.”

BBC News pre­sen­ter So­phie Ra­worth, who was at the scene, said she saw a woman on a stretcher with burns to her face and legs.

She added: “Her legs are wrapped up and she has burns. She had burns to her face. She’s con­scious, she was tak­ing oxy­gen and pain re­lief as well. She seemed to have burns all over her body from top to toe.”

Ryan Bar­nett said he heard of vic­tims with burn in­juries and re­ported see­ing some com­muters tak­ing self­ies on the plat­form.

The 25-year-old, who works in pol­i­tics and had been trav­el­ling to his of­fice, said: “I was lucky, I wasn’t in the car­riage, I was in a few car­riages down but I was caught up in the stam­pede down the stairs.

“I was sit­ting there, head­phones in, at Par­sons Green, the doors open fine, I’m not re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion and all of a sud­den hun­dreds of peo­ple run past me scream­ing a mix­ture of ‘stam­pede’, ‘at­tack’, ‘ter­ror­ist’, ‘ex­plo­sion’, ‘get off the train’, ‘ev­ery­one run’.

“Par­sons Green sta­tion has a stair­case at the front of the car­riage where the train pulls up. I’m run­ning and keep­ing my head down be­cause there might be gun­fire and on to the stair­case.

“But when I was on the stair­case, the stew­ards and other pas­sen­gers, they are shout­ing ‘stop, stop, stop’, so I ended up squashed on the stair­case, peo­ple were fall­ing over, peo­ple faint­ing, cry­ing, there were lit­tle kids cling­ing on to the back of me.

“There were a lot of peo­ple tak­ing pho­tos, there was a cou­ple of peo­ple tak­ing self­ies and I thought: ‘What is the world com­ing to?’”

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