Witnesses describe ‘panic’


An injured woman outside Parsons Green stationImage copyright Reuters
Image caption An injured commuter is comforted outside Parsons Green Tube station

Commuters have told of the panic at a London Underground station following an explosion on a District Line train.

Emma Stevie, 27, was on the train when the explosion happened at Parsons Green, in south-west London, and was caught in a “stampede” and crush on the station steps.

“We got on the train at Parsons Green, then I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’,” she said.

“We got out of the train and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

“There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing, I put myself in foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

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

She said she saw a young boy with head and other injuries.

Image copyright Emma Stevie
Image caption Emma Stevie there was a “full tube’s worth of people on the steps – hundreds of people”

Ms Stevie added: “It was horrible, I can’t think how many people were underneath me in the crush.

“The fire brigade was telling us to get back on the platform, but no-one was. There was a full Tube’s 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. The injuries from the stampede seemed the worst.

“I’m outside now, there are women crying and people sitting on the floor.”

‘A flash and a bang’

Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall, who was sitting on the “packed” District Line train, said he saw several people injured having apparently been trampled as they tried to escape.

The 53-year-old said: “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.

“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,” he said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Witness Luke O’Connor said there were “lots of school kids” on the Tube, heading to school

Luke O’Connor, who was also on the train, said: “There (were) lots of school kids on there, mothers doing the school run… I was sitting next to a girl who was just doing her spellings, people just getting ready for the day… It was just more of a shock really. You never expect it to happen.”

He told the BBC that there was a “loud explosion” from another carriage, followed by a smell “sort of sulphuric acid, when you go into science lab at school, that type of smell”.

Mr O’Connor praised the Tube staff, who he said were “superb” – getting people off safely as quickly as possible.

He said some people appeared to have “burning injuries”.

Commuter Eduardo Moreira, from Wimbledon, said he thought most of the damage “was done by people panicking and running away”.

He said: “Even in my carriage, one guy just yelled to stop. They were passing over this lady. She was being trampled on.

“There was high panic. The problem was people didn’t know what was happening.

“I could smell the burning. I walked down the platform and saw the bucket on fire.

“It looked like a paint bucket. It had a sweater on it. It was just starting to light up.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A woman was comforted by a police officer outside Parsons Green station

Another commuter, Sham, told BBC Radio 5 live he was heading in to the station when he saw “hordes of people… trying to get down as quickly as they could”.

“At first I thought they were in a bit of a rush or whatever, but actually looked, and the whole staircase was full of people.

“There were people on the floor, all like toppling over each other just trying to get out as quickly as they could, and there were loads of people crying and shaking,” he said.

He added that there were “loads of people limping and covered in blood and stuff from like where they’d fallen over and hurt themselves”.

Sylvain Pennec, a software developer from Southfields, south-west London, was around 10 metres (30ft) from the source of the explosion when 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.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police and firemen cordoned off the tube station following the explosion

Mr Pennec described the panic as commuters struggled to escape the carriage, “collapsing and pushing” each other.

He 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.”

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

She told the BBC: “I was just about to walk into the station and there were a few people standing outside and there was a woman sitting on the pavement with blood around her.

“She was crying and she was really hysterical. And I walked into the station there was just blood on the floor and people running down the stairs screaming ‘get out’.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41277938

“People were coming out the station… covered in blood and dirt.”

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