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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor