Parsons Green terror explosion: Eyewitness tell how they ‘ran for their lives’ after blast

Eyewitnesses reported scenes of ‘total chaos’ as shocked commuters ‘ran for their lives’ after a terror explosion on a packed London Underground train.

However, it appears the crude device, which was inside a white plastic basket and Lidl carrier bag, did not properly detonate – potentially saving scores of lives.

Emergency services reported treating casualties with a range of injuries from ‘flash burns’ caused in the initial explosion and breaks and sprains in the stampede that followed.

According to the London Ambulance Service 22 people have been taken to hospital but none are thought to have serious injuries.

One eyewitness, reported seeing a child with burns. The explosion occurred at 8.20am, with the carriages packed with commuters and schoolchildren, with a primary school just a short walk from the station.

“The first thing I saw was a kid, about ten years old, with burns,” said Alex Weldon, 30.

“I’ve seen injuries that look like they’re burns. From what I’ve heard there’s a restaurant directly opposite the train station where people are being treated for injuries so what we saw was people being led away by paramedics to ambulances waiting around the corner.”

Ryan Barnett, 25, was travelling to work on the District Line to Chiswick this morning when the explosion erupted two carriages away from him.

He said: “I didn’t even hear it I just suddenly saw people running towards me from the back of the train. I legged it; I ran straight off the train towards the stairs.”

He confirmed that the explosion was contained in the last carriage but the most horrific part was the reaction to it.

He continued: “People were shouting ‘Run for your lives’ and screaming. I saw people fainting from the shock, crying their eyes out and rushing towards the platform exit. People were stampeding towards the stairs, which are quite narrow; it was incredibly dangerous.

“The pressure of the squeeze was causing people to faint, along with the shock. I saw a woman with severe burns all down her side, crying her eyes out. It was harrowing. Just insane panic.”

Mr Barnett claimed that everyone was evacuated within ten minutes. Upon exiting the station Ryan saw around 50 police cars and has heard constant sirens, helicopters, ambulances and fire brigades.

Peter Crowley said: “I was on my phone with my face to the side of where I believe the explosion took place.

“I heard a large bang from the doors on the other side of the tube train and then this fireball above my head came and singed all my hair.

“I’ve got burn marks on the top of my head.  And every just ran off the train, it was quite scary.

I saw a gentleman with a puffer jacket.  The whole back of that had been burned where the intense heat had got to it.

“He had burn marks across his face which are now looking a lot worse than mine.

“There were a lot of people in shock, a lot of people physically upset.”

Colleagues Sally Faulding and Su-Chen Warner, who both work at Chelsea Independent College, were also on the train.

Sally Faulding said: “I was falling over people myself. I was just saying to myself keep upright because either you’re going to be crumpled to death or you’ve got a bad man behind you, because I still didn’t know what was going on.

“We couldn’t move out of the station and my first instinct was to get out of there, so we were kind of barricaded in and then my colleague from my school, she was further down the carriage and she saw the surge of fire come towards her.

“Then we just had to wait on the platform but people were down, people were injured, people were burnt, peoples’ hair was singed, so it clearly had been an explosion. We didn’t know anything at that stage and then they evacuated us out.

“With everything that’s gone on recently in London I actually thought it was a terrorist attack and possibly someone with a gun. But I haven’t heard anything to indicate that but that was my fear and I kept on running.”

Su-Chen Warner, 50, said: “I suddenly heard a big bang on my left hand side, so I turned my head and I saw a big fireball. I realised why people were screaming and crying so I got up immediately and the door was open.”

Ellie Snow, who works at a clinic by the station, reported that she couldn’t get to her workplace as it was cordoned off by police and that she got the bus to work instead of the tube. The clinic was evacuated and she believes all her colleagues are safe.

Eira Bentley, 56, is the chairman of the Royal British Legion Club Fulham, which overlooks Parsons Green. She has two grandchildren, aged six and nine, at Holy Cross Primary, who were being dropped off by their mother Kate at the time of the incident.

She said: “They’re not letting the kids out. They’re safe and there are police there. Why Parsons Green? It’s a tiny little tube station. Please God no-one’s died.

“My nine-year-old granddaughter knows everything and fully understands what’s happened. She was a real mess this morning. The school are great. After London Bridge they provided counselling, so hopefully they’ll be looking after them now.

“I am just in complete shock. I was in Starbucks this morning and saw the faces of people off the train, it broke my heart.

“It’ll be a nightmare getting the kids out of school because there’s two other schools nearby. You just can’t move when something like this happens. We have a great community and we’ll get together, it’s like a village.”

Reporting at the scene: Will Thompson, Eleanor Sharples, Lucy Lyth, Dora Allday, Shingi Mararike and Tim Baker

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