TER­ROR ON THE TUBE

Fire­ball ripped through packed train car­riage

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TOM TOR­RANCE

SCOT­LAND Yard has de­clared a ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent af­ter a blast sent a “fire­ball” and a “wall of flame” through a packed Lon­don Un­der­ground train.

Of­fi­cers from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice’s counter-ter­ror­ism com­mand have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing the ex­plo­sion in west Lon­don dur­ing rush hour this morn­ing.

The force said po­lice were called at ap­prox­i­mately 8.20am to Par­sons Green Un­der­ground Sta­tion “fol­low­ing re­ports of a fire on the train”.

The Met said Deputy As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu, the na­tional co-or­di­na­tor for coun­tert­er­ror­ism polic­ing, “has de­clared it a ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent”, adding: “At present we are aware of a num­ber of peo­ple who have suf­fered in­juries.”

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May is to chair a meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ment’s Co­bra emer­gen­cies com­mit­tee this af­ter­noon to dis­cuss the in­ci­dent.

Eye­wit­nesses re­ported see­ing sev­eral peo­ple hurt and “cov­ered in blood” af­ter a “flash and a bang” on the Dis­trict Line Tube.

Pic­tures posted on so­cial me­dia ap­peared to show a flam­ing bucket in­side a plas­tic car­rier bag on the floor of a car­riage.

Po­lice have not given de­tails about the sus­pected cause of the ex­plo­sion but the in­ci­dent comes with Bri­tain on high alert af­ter four ter­ror at­tacks in 2017.

The of­fi­cial threat level cur­rently stands at se­vere – mean­ing an at­tack is seen as “highly likely”.

Me­dia tech­nol­ogy con­sul­tant Richard Aylmer-Hall, 53, was sit­ting on the ser­vice bound for cen­tral Lon­don when panic un­folded.

He said he saw sev­eral peo­ple in­jured, hav­ing ap­par­ently been tram­pled as they tried to es­cape.

He told the Press As­so­ci­a­tion: “I was bliss­fully read­ing my pa­per and lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast and sud­denly the whole world charged past me down the plat­form, down the Tube.

“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.

“There was a woman on the plat­form who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so ob­vi­ously some­thing had gone off.

“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.

“Since then, every emer­gency ve­hi­cle in Lon­don has gone past me, fire engines, am­bu­lances, every type of po­lice ve­hi­cle.”

Mr Aylmer-Hall added: “I don’t think any­one was hurt by the ac­tual de­vice or what­ever it was.”

One man who ar­rived at the sta­tion in the af­ter­math of the in­ci­dent told the BBC: “I was walk­ing to­wards the sta­tion and sud­denly ev­ery­one came run­ning down the stairs and out of the door.

“Lots of peo­ple shocked and scream­ing and say­ing there had

been an ex­plo­sion and peo­ple were say­ing there had been a wall of flame com­ing down the tube car­riage, I turned round and came back from the sta­tion with all of them.

“A wall of flame com­ing down the car­riage af­ter a bang.”

One woman stand­ing on the plat­form as pas­sen­gers left the Tube car­riage in footage of the af­ter­math was heard say­ing: “We could see it on the far end of the train, I don’t know what it was – it looked like a fire­ball.

“Some­thing went off – I could see it.

“I saw the thing and ev­ery­body pan­icked and got crushed.”

Scot­land Yard said: “Po­lice were called at ap­prox­i­mately 08:20hrs on Fri­day, 15 Septem­ber to Par­sons Green Un­der­ground Sta­tion fol­low­ing re­ports of an in­ci­dent on a Tube train.

“Of­fi­cers from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice Ser­vice and Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice are in at­tend- ance along with the Lon­don Fire Brigade and Lon­don Am­bu­lance Ser­vice.

“We would ad­vise peo­ple to avoid the area.”

Mick Cash, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Rail, Mar­itime and Trans­port union, said: “The in­ci­dent shows once again that Tube staff are the first re­spon­ders in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions and the clear need for safety and se­cu­rity to re­main the num­ber one pri­or­ity and for the re­sources and staffing to be in place to deal with all even­tu­al­i­ties.”

Down­ing Street said Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May was “re­ceiv­ing reg­u­lar up­dates” on the sit­u­a­tion.

Pas­sen­gers on the train be­hind the af­fected Tube wit­nessed ter­ri­fied pas­sen­gers sprint­ing away up the tracks.

They were then held in their train for over an hour be­fore be­ing evac­u­ated on to the tracks them­selves.

TO­DAY’ST PIC­TURES IN TO­DAY’S PA­PER

A flam­ing bucket, above, in­side a car­rier bag was shown on so­cial me­dia, while left, emer­gency work­ers were on the scene at the Par­sons Green Un­der­ground Sta­tion. Tele­vi­sion re­ports this morn­ing, be­low, showed crews at a train, and medics treat­ing in­jured com­muters af­ter the ex­plo­sion in west Lon­don

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