I was suf­fo­cat­ing in the stam­pede

Brave boy in what’s be­come the iconic photograph of the Mir­a­cle of Par­sons Green tells how he was buried un­der sea of bod­ies on sta­tion stairs . . . as his mum re­lives hor­ror of try­ing to reach him af­ter brother’s call

The Mail on Sunday - - Terror On The Tube - By Ben Ellery and Ian Gal­lagher

‘One man fell on me – I started scream­ing that I had no air’

THE school­boy tram­pled in the stam­pede af­ter the Par­sons Green ter­ror at­tack last night spoke of his ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal.

Alex Ojeda- Sierra, 13, stum­bled and fell, dis­ap­pear­ing be­neath a tide of com­muters who were twice his size.

In the first ac­count of his or­deal, Alex told how he felt pas­sen­gers tread all over his head, chest and stom­ach as he lay trapped on a stair­way.

His mother, Maria, spoke of the dread-in­duc­ing mo­ment she heard Alex was caught up in the out­rage – but was un­able to reach him – and of the night­mares he has had since the at­tack.

Alex said: ‘One man fell on me and my legs bent back­wards and my right an­kle got twisted. I started scream­ing that I had no air.’

Only a minute ear­lier – 8.20am on Friday – he had been on his way to school, dis­cussing the day ahead with his friends as their train pulled into Par­sons Green sta­tion, one stop from their des­ti­na­tion of Ful­ham Broad­way.

At that mo­ment, a bomb next to one of the doors failed to fully det­o­nate but cre­ated a gi­ant fire­ball, caus­ing pan­de­mo­nium.

‘I dropped my bag and we started run­ning,’ said Alex, who was later treated at Chelsea and West­min­ster Hos­pi­tal and is now re­cov­er­ing at home in Mor­den, South-West Lon­don.

Af­ter sev­eral min­utes, he was ‘dug out from so many bod­ies’ and was later pic­tured be­ing car­ried to safety by two fire­fight­ers in one of the at­tack’s defin­ing im­ages.

When com­muters even­tu­ally came to his aid, Alex’s first thought was for his el­der brother, Robert, 15, with whom he had boarded the train at Wim­ble­don that morn­ing.

He was un­aware that Robert had ear­lier got off the train at East Put­ney sta­tion to use the lava­tory.

Michael Perry, 29, a med­i­cal stu­dent who was at Par­sons Green, said: ‘Alex had a mas­sive scrape and bleed­ing and a con­tu­sion on his fore­head where he had been knocked for­ward, as well as gashes on his tummy and side where he had been stepped on.

‘He had lost his brother, Robert, and he was ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fied and wor­ried about him.’

Maria said yes­ter­day: ‘I stayed up with Alex un­til 5am this morn­ing be­cause he had night­mares. His in­juries will heal but it will take longer for him to re­cover men­tally.’

She had dropped her sons at Wim­ble­don sta­tion at 8am, as she does every week­day morn­ing.

‘Around 20 min­utes later I got a call from Robert,’ she said.

‘He had got off the train at East Put­ney to use the toi­let and had bor­rowed some­one’s phone to ask me why the next train was be­ing held at the sta­tion.

‘I put the news on and saw there had been an in­ci­dent but at first they said in Hyde Park. But then they con­firmed it was Par­sons Green and im­me­di­ately I started pan­ick­ing. I thought, “That is too close – this could be aw­ful”.

‘I phoned Robert back and told him to get to school on the over­ground line be­cause I thought he would be safe there – I didn’t want him on the Tube.

‘ I was t erri­fied be­cause t he school doesn’t al­low phones and so I couldn’t get hold of Alex – I in­stinc­tively knew some­thing was wrong and my panic was now in over­drive.

‘Then I re­ceived a call from an un­known num­ber and it was a woman say­ing she was with my son. She put him on the line and he was very fright­ened.

‘He was scared be­cause he didn’t know where his brother was – that was his main con­cern. I re­as­sured him that we had spo­ken and Robert was okay. Alex hadn’t been at the front of the train where the bomb was but it was still very scary.’

Maria added: ‘He said ev­ery­one started run­ning so he did, too.

‘He said his friend man­aged to get away but he has a weak an­kle from an old in­jury and had tripped on the stairs.

‘Some­one fell on top of him, fol- l owed by an­other per­son. He couldn’t breathe and had cracked his head open on the stairs.

‘He said he had to be dug out from so many bod­ies and that it was may­hem. I was in tears – it was a very dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tion but I was so re­lieved that he was alive.

‘I was so grate­ful the woman was there help­ing him. She got in an am­bu­lance with him to com­fort him and I drove to Chelsea and West­min­ster Hos­pi­tal.’

On the way she passed Par­sons Green, where she saw paramedics, fire­fight­ers and po­lice. ‘That made me more ter­ri­fied be­cause there were so many of them.’

She added: ‘When I got to the hos­pi­tal I just hugged Alex and we were both cry­ing. I just thought how lucky we had been and it could

have so eas­ily been worse. He had grazes and bruises all over him. Peo­ple were just run­ning – it was ev­ery­one for them­selves.

‘I thanked the woman for help­ing him – we were so for­tu­nate that her and an­other man helped him. Alex asked me to thank the man too but he wasn’t around. Alex made me down­load Twit­ter and I man­aged to get a mes­sage on­line thank­ing him. Even af­ter all that, all Alex wanted to do was find his brother and thank those who had helped him.’

Twit­ter user Lord Gus­tavo Vieira tweeted a photo of Alex and wrote: ‘I hope this lit­tle buddy is now warm and back home with his brother. #parsonsgreen #sad # ParsonsGreen.’ Un­der­neath, Maria, 49, replied: ‘Thank you for look­ing af­ter my son dur­ing this ter­ri­fy­ing time. You helped him enor­mously. Very grate­ful. xx.’

She told The Mail on Sun­day: ‘Alex is a very brave and spe­cial boy. He was re­leased af­ter a quick check-up and had an emo- tional re­union with his brother. It’s hor­ri­ble to think that Robert would’ve been caught up in it too if he hadn’t gone to the loo.

‘ We are very for­tu­nate and there are peo­ple with worse in­juries who were not so lucky. We just want to take it one day at a time. Last night Alex had night­mares and the men­tal scars will take time to heal.

‘The emo­tions keep com­ing in waves with him and with me but we will be okay even­tu­ally.

‘I’m not sure if he’ll be back at school on Monday but we want things to get back to nor­mal as soon as pos­si­ble.’

Her hus­band Robert, 48, an econ­o­mist, said: ‘ When Maria told me I rushed to the hos­pi­tal in a panic. Thank­fully, Alex was not at the end of the train where there was the ex­plo­sion but he’s clearly ex­tremely shaken up.

‘We haven’t pressed him on what hap­pened, we’ve just been try­ing to have fun and he’s been telling us about it in drips and drabs. He is re­cov­er­ing – he was an­noyed be­cause the news re­ported he was ten, but he’s ac­tu­ally 13! He’s an ex­tremely brave boy.’

Alex was one of many pupils on the train from The Lon­don Ora­tory School, where Tony Blair sent his chil­dren. As al­ways at that time, there were boys and girls from other schools, too – a fact not lost on the ter­ror­ists.

The Ora­tory’s choir di­rec­tor Charles Cole said: ‘ The trains which go through Par­sons Green are packed with Ora­tory pupils at that time of day. One of our pupils was right op­po­site the bomb at the time. Had the ter­ror­ists been suc­cess­ful, it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that that pupil could pos­si­bly have sur­vived.’

‘I just hugged him – we were both cry­ing’

‘The men­tal scars will take time to heal’

CAR­RIED TO SAFETY: Alex is lifted out of the sta­tion by fire­fight­ers. Right: Brother Robert in ac­tion on the rugby field

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