7/7 survivor tells of pushing to get on bus

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The Independent Online

A survivor of the 7/7 bus blast told today how she pushed to get on board minutes before it exploded.

Emma Plunkett was making her way to work in Islington where she was assistant manager of the Co-op Bank on the morning of July 7 2005.

She was forced to get off the Tube at Euston and bumped into her friend and colleague Shahara Islam, 20.

The pair did not know how to get to work so phoned the office and were told they could catch a No 30.

Miss Plunkett, who lived in Surrey at the time, asked her colleague if she wanted to get a coffee before boarding a bus as Euston station was "heaving" and they should wait for it to calm down.

"She said 'No, come on, let's push,"' Miss Plunkett said, fighting back tears.

She told the inquest into the 52 innocent people killed that they sat directly across from teenage fanatic Hasib Hussain towards the back of the No 30 bus.

Miss Islam was in the aisle seat next to the 18-year-old and Miss Plunkett was in the window seat.

Miss Islam, from Plaistow, east London, was killed when the terrorist detonated his rucksack full of homemade explosives and Miss Plunkett was blasted out of the double decker.

She landed half under a taxi and struggled to breathe and move her legs.

Today, she said she had no memory of Hussain and spent the moments before the blast talking to "Shaz" about what they thought was a power surge on the Underground that morning.

"We were saying there's no way London could cope with the Olympic Games, that all it takes is a power surge and this happens," she told the hearing.

"I didn't remember anything of the explosion.

"One minute I was talking to Shaz and the next minute I was lying on the road."

She added: "My right leg was under the front wheel of the back of the taxi and the other leg was down at the side. I was half under and half lying next to the taxi...

"I remember someone running past me and saying I was one of the lucky ones as they ran off."

Miss Plunkett remembered taxi driver Scott Kelman getting out of the car to help her.

"He stayed with me," she said.

"Talking to me, asking my name and where I was from, how old I was and I knew he was trying to keep me conscious."

Thirteen people were killed in the Tavistock Square bomb.

It was the fourth and final attack on London that morning after Hussain's accomplices detonated three other bombs on the Underground.

Samantha Lott, of Maidstone, was walking an entirely new route to work through Tavistock Square because of the chaos brought to the capital.

She said she was "dumbfounded" when the blast happened.

"As I reached the junction of Tavistock Square, I suddenly heard an explosion.

"I immediately realised it was a bomb, but did not know what had exploded.

"There was a smell and lots of smoke. I felt what I can only describe as hot air and fine debris hitting my legs.

"The smoke obscured my view of what had exploded, and I immediately thought of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and looked up expecting debris to be falling from the buildings.

"My immediate reaction, along with everyone else, was to turn and run back towards Euston.

"However, after a few steps, I stopped and turned back."

The witness tended to the injured and began to soak up the horror of the scene as she looked about.

"I saw about three feet away from me what I can only describe as being a pair of lungs on the pavement," she said.

"I could see that the wall of the BMA building was covered in blood.

"There was burnt hair and body parts all over.

"Against the wall, I saw what I initially thought to be a seat from the bus.

"However, as I looked at it, I began to realise that it was, in fact, a human torso."