PREG­NANT WOMAN WAS AL­MOST CRUSHED IN THE STAM­PEDE

Daily Mail - - Terror On The Tube - By Sam Green­hill, Glen Keogh and Emine Sin­maz

WOMEN and chil­dren were tram­pled on in the des­per­ate stam­pede to es­cape from the Tube train fire­ball yes­ter­day.

Panic spread among the more than 900 pas­sen­gers within sec­onds of the blast and they be­gan tum­bling out on to the nar­row plat­form fear­ing that the whole train would blow up.

Some were squashed against rail­ings as ev­ery­body headed for the only way out, a set of steps by the front of the train down to street level.

Ryan Bar­nett, 25, who was fur­ther up the train, re­called: ‘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”.’

He made it to the stair­case but stew­ards were shout­ing ‘stop, stop, stop’ and it turned into what an­other wit­ness called a mass pile-up.

Mr Bar­nett said: ‘Peo­ple were fall­ing over, peo­ple were faint­ing, peo­ple were cry­ing. There were lit­tle kids cling­ing on to the back of me.’ In the chaos, he said a preg­nant woman lost her shoes and fell over.

‘There was sheer pan­de­mo­nium and panic,’ added pas­sen­ger Neil White, while an­other wit­ness told LBC ra­dio: ‘I was help­ing a lady up and she was un­con­scious – she was just get­ting tram­pled.’

Emma Ste­vie, 27, told the BBC: ‘There was a hu­man stam­pede down the stairs. There were peo­ple ly­ing un­der­neath get­ting crushed. I wedged my­self in next to a rail­ing, I put my­self in the foetal po­si­tion.

‘There was a preg­nant woman un­der­neath me and I was try­ing re­ally hard not to crush her.

‘There was a full Tube-worth of peo­ple on the steps – hun­dreds of peo­ple. I saw a lady with wa­ter be­ing poured over the face and hands, who I think had been burnt in the ex­plo­sion. There were women cry­ing, and peo­ple sit­ting on the floor.’

Amid the chaos a young boy was left cry­ing out for his brother. The young­ster, who was said to be about 11, was seen fran­ti­cally search­ing for his si­b­ling as pan­icked com­muters rushed from the west Lon­don sta­tion.

Olaniyi Shokunbi, 24, a fit­ness in­struc­tor, said: ‘There were peo­ple on the floor, there was a lit­tle boy, I re­ally felt sorry for him, he couldn’t have been more than 11. He had scratches on his head, shout­ing that he had lost his lit­tle brother. He was in his school uni­form. It was crazy.’

He added: ‘There was a woman on the floor. She couldn’t breathe. Peo­ple were scream­ing and cry­ing.

‘I could see lit­tle kids ly­ing on the floor. They were try­ing to get out of the sta­tion but were over­pow­ered by adults in the stam­pede. They weren’t phys­i­cally strong enough. There was a woman on the floor who was breath­ing but not mov­ing, in se­ri­ous pain.’

One eye­wit­ness said it was ‘ev­ery man for him­self’ as peo­ple rushed down the stairs. An­other, called Paul, said: ‘There was a lit­tle boy about five, it must have been his first week of school and he was ob­vi­ously ter­ri­fied.

‘I said to a woman her hair was burnt off but her face was OK, but she was very dis­tressed. She said the fire­ball went up past her head to the ceil­ing.’

A 24-year-old PR ex­ec­u­tive called Lucy said: ‘There was a school­boy be­ing lifted up af­ter he had fallen down. He was in his school uni­form, he must have been about ten, he was cry­ing and dis­tressed.’ An­other boy was ‘sit­ting on the floor sob­bing’ in shock.

At first not ev­ery­one was alarmed. In a video clip of the scene one woman calmly re­marks: ‘Oh look, that bag’s on fire,’ as she passed the rem­nants of the bomb.

A mem­ber of staff told her: ‘Right guys, let’s get away, let’s move right down to the end of the plat­form.’

Adding to the panic were false re­ports of a knife­man on the loose. As com­muters reached the bar­ri­ers at the bot­tom of the steps, some peo­ple were or­der­ing them to go back up.

Luke Walm­s­ley, a 33-year- old video edi­tor, said: ‘It was com­plete pan­de­mo­nium, com­plete ter­ror. They didn’t open the gates and the Un­der­ground staff did not un­der­stand what was go­ing on. Peo­ple were shout­ing “He’s got a knife! He’s got a knife!’’ I didn’t see any­one with a knife.’

He added: ‘In the im­me­di­ate sec­onds there were peo­ple run­ning and shout­ing, it was just like where do you run to?

‘Peo­ple were rush­ing down the plat­form, ev­ery­one was do­ing a 100me­tre sprint.

‘There were lots of in­juries from peo­ple be­ing tram­pled on.’

Ac­coun­tant Sarah Hick­son, 31, who was on her way to work from Put­ney to Padding­ton, said: ‘I heard ev­ery­one scream­ing “Run, run, run!” and the whole Tube went into fran­tic panic.

‘Ev­ery­one was sprint­ing for the exit and some­one was scream­ing, “There’s a man, there’s a man!” One per­son tried to climb over the rail­ings and over ev­ery­one else. It was to­tal chaos.

‘There was a preg­nant woman and a lit­tle boy of about ten. His face must have been crushed against the con­crete stairs be­cause when he stood up he had grazes all over his face. It was hor­ri­ble.’

She added: ‘ Trans­port for Lon­don staff were do­ing their best to get con­trol but ev­ery­one was scream­ing, try­ing to get out.

‘Even­tu­ally they man­aged to get some calm and peo­ple moved ever so slightly back, al­low­ing the boy and preg­nant woman to get up.

‘I am phys­i­cally OK but shaken up, it was a scary ex­pe­ri­ence.’ In­sur­ance bro­ker Grace Watts, 27, from Ful­ham, said: ‘Ev­ery­one was be­ing shoved and squashed then some­one at the bot­tom started shout­ing at us to get back up.

‘It wasn’t a mem­ber of staff, but in the panic ev­ery­one as­sumed

‘It was ev­ery man for him­self’

that there was an at­tack go­ing on out­side the sta­tion, and we were stuck in be­tween.

‘There were some five or six boys from the Lon­don Ora­tory School – they were only 11 or 12 years old – who had cuts and bruises from the crush. It was sheer panic.’

She added: ‘There was one girl who was run­ning down the stairs who got pushed right over and cut her leg. She looked like she was in a lot of pain. In­stinct just kicked in – I thought there must be a bomb or a gun­man so you just get away as quick as you can. Peo­ple were ter­ri­fied. It was re­ally scary.’ Com­muters on the train be­hind wit­nessed ter­ri­fied pas­sen­gers sprint­ing away up the tracks. Ni­cole Lin­nell, 29, who works for a fash­ion la­bel, said: ‘We saw peo­ple run­ning down the tracks. About 30 or 40 peo­ple. It was ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing.

‘Run­ning on the tracks is the last thing you want to do, so we were like “What’s go­ing on?”

‘Af­ter about an hour we were evac­u­ated off the train on to the tracks, about ten to 15 peo­ple at a time.’ Syl­vain Pen­nec, a soft­ware de­vel­oper from South­fields, near Wim­ble­don, who was a few yards from the ex­plo­sion, said com­muters strug­gled to es­cape the car­riage ‘col­laps­ing and push­ing’ each other.

BBC cor­re­spon­dent Riz La­teef, who was at the sta­tion trav­el­ling to work, said there was ‘panic as peo­ple rushed from the train’, adding: ‘Peo­ple were left with cuts and grazes from try­ing to flee the scene. There was lots of panic.’

An­other wit­ness, Sham, said he saw a man with blood all over his face. ‘There were loads of peo­ple cry­ing and shak­ing,’ he told BBC Ra­dio 5 Live. There were a lot of peo­ple limp­ing and cov­ered in blood. One guy I saw, his face was cov­ered in blood – I’ve never seen any­thing like it.’

Com­muter Robyn Frost was ar­riv­ing at the sta­tion when she saw peo­ple try­ing to es­cape.

She told the BBC: ‘I walked into the sta­tion, there was blood on the floor and peo­ple run­ning down the stairs scream­ing “Get out”. Peo­ple were com­ing out of the sta­tion cov­ered in blood.’

The first po­lice to ar­rive on the scene quickly picked up on the knife­man re­ports and ru­mours of a sec­ond de­vice. Com­muter Aaron But­ter­field said po­lice had told him there had been an ex­plo­sion and ‘some­one was run­ning around with a knife’, adding: ‘ We have just been told there’s an­other ex­plo­sive de­vice.’

Mark Ar­nell, 35, said of­fi­cers rushed into his cy­cle shop and or­dered them to flee.

A po­lice of­fi­cer told re­porters: ‘We be­lieve there is a sec­ond bomb, peo­ple need to stay back, there is a man with knives on the loose.’ As the emer­gency ser­vices flooded the area, other com­muters were ma­rooned on trains fur­ther along the line. Some were seen run­ning down the tracks un­til a more or­derly evac­u­a­tion was ar­ranged. s.green­hill@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

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