Passengers attack bomb evacuation at station

PASSENGERS criticised evacuation procedures at an Underground station last night after a bomb exploded while people were trying to escape.

Commuters said they were only yards from the device - thought to be 20 to 30 feet up the staircase - at Hampstead station, north London, despite police claims that it had been evacuated safely. No injuries were reported but scores of people were thrown into panic.

Police said the explosion happened at about 4.48pm. A coded warning was telephoned to the Press Association at 4.32pm. A second warning was received by the Samaritans. A man claiming to be from the IRA warned of bombs at Hampstead and Archway Underground stations, but did not say when they were due to go off.

Chief Superintendent Tony Buchanan said: 'Clearly, it is murderous behaviour. There could have been a large number of casualties. There was not enough warning given. Lives were put at risk and we are very fortunate there were no deaths or injuries.'

Ruth Clackson, of Hampstead village, said the blast happened as she waited for a lift to take her to the ground level exit. Hampstead is one of the deepest stations in London. A London Transport official said they were trying to start the lifts but he said nothing about a bomb or a warning.

'We were still standing in the lift with the doors open when the bomb went off. It was very close. I've never heard anything like it. There were young girls in there screaming their heads off but no one did anything to help.

'Two trains went through after the bomb exploded and at least one must have stopped because people were still coming towards the lift.'

Ms Clackson said passengers climbed stairs but there were no officials orchestrating the evacuation. 'When we got to the top someone said: 'If you're feeling woozy, walk down to the Royal Free Hospital.' There were people near to collapsing.'

Michael Bodman, 20, of East Acton, arrived just after the explosion. 'The train stopped and a guard told everyone to get back on the train. We got back on but then he told everyone to get off and run up the stairs. The train was about semi-full.

'I got off and tried going for the lift but I saw people just standing there and it obviously wasn't moving so I made my way up the stairs. There was smoke and rubble and I couldn't see what I was going up into. No one guided us up and I didn't see any officials until I got to the top. The guard who told us to get off the train disappeared.'

An Underground spokesman said passengers were told to leave the station. 'The passengers down there were ushered on to a train, the train doors closed, the staff stayed on the platform, and as the train was about to pull out there was an explosion. The guard, because it was thought that the explosion was under or on the train, opened the doors.'

Passengers were then directed to the three working lifts, although 'there were some people who slipped through and made their own way up the staircase'.

A soldier at a checkpoint at Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was given a tin of chocolates by a motorist last night. On his return to base, suspicions were aroused and an Army expert defused a 1kg Semtex bomb hidden inside.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas