7/7 tube manager 'stopped from sending staff back to track after blast'
Tuesday 26 October 2010
A station manager was stopped from sending London Underground staff down to the Tube track after a bomb ripped apart a train on July 7, he said today.
Darren Glazer, duty station manager at Liverpool Street station, described the confusion that reigned after suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his bomb on an eastbound Circle Line train, killing seven people.
While a British Transport Police (BTP) officer forbade staff at Liverpool Street from going to investigate, Tube staff at Aldgate station ignored safety concerns and rushed to help the bloodied victims, the inquest into the deaths of the 52 people killed in the 2005 atrocities heard.
Mr Glazer said: "There was some smoke coming out from the direction of Aldgate through the tunnel into our platforms.
"We planned to (find out what had happened) but then I was stopped by DCI (Al) Lawson at the time who was silver control for British Transport Police."
He went on: "Our intention was to send staff on to the track and investigate what had happened...
"I couldn't allow my staff to do what I wanted them to do because I was stopped by DCI Lawson because of the possibility of secondary devices."
No-one was sent down to the track for at least the first 25 minutes, the inquest heard.
Meanwhile staff at Aldgate station were praised by the coroner for their bravery for getting stuck in and helping out in the tunnel.
Station supervisor Olanayi Falayi ignored the concerns of BTP officers about the danger in the tunnel at Aldgate.
He described how he went down there anyway as he had seen the walking wounded emerging, and found a woman pinned to the floor of a Tube carriage by an upright pole.
He told the inquest: "(The BTP officers) were discussing whether to go on the track or not.
"Police officers were saying we didn't know the situation down there, that it would be dangerous to go.
"But (my colleague) and I decided to go anyway."
The Tube workers first encountered a victim with a hole in their side and took them upstairs, Mr Falayi said.
Back in the tunnel, they showed passengers who had been on the Tube how to walk safely down the track on to the platform.
Mr Falayi then entered the train and was faced with a scene of carnage.
He said: "One lady was pinned down by the upright (pole). She was thrashing about.
"We asked her her name and she said she was Trisha. She calmed down after a while. We told her to stop moving and that paramedics were on their way."
The woman was in fact 24-year-old Carrie Taylor, one of the seven victims killed by the bomb.
Lady Justice Hallett told him: "You were very brave and I'm sure the efforts you made, despite the risk to yourself, to save and help people there at that dreadful scene will provide some comfort to those who have either lost people or who themselves were dreadfully injured."
She also heaped praise on another Tube worker, who told the inquest how he too ventured into the tunnel to help people, spending half an hour down there amid the smoke and dead bodies.
Stephen Eldridge, a Metropolitan line operator, was waiting on the mezzanine level of the station to pick up a train that morning, when he heard an enormous bang from the direction of the tunnel.
He said: "I thought at the time it sounded like a bomb to me. There was some movement in the air when it happened.
"There were little pieces dropping through the air as well, off the roof.
"(A colleague) and I went down on to platform two and noticed that the emergency lighting seemed to have gone down as well."
He made his way towards the front of the train, he said.
"There were some people thumping on the glass (of the doors) saying 'Let me out"', he went on.
After checking that the electric current through the Tube line had been turned off, he made his way into the tunnel.
He said: "We couldn't see anything because of the amount of smoke and dust that was coming down...
"We went to car three and it was full of smoke and people and they were in a very distressed state, wanting to get out."
His first priority was to let some air into the smoke-filled carriage so everyone could breath, he said.
So he prised open the door via a crack with some paddles.
He then helped evacuate passengers from the tunnel, trying meanwhile to shield from their view the dead bodies strewn around him.
He added: "I was looking down the tunnel and kept thinking the paramedics must be here soon.
"I could hear a female screaming in pain but couldn't locate her. I felt helpless."
Lady Justice Hallett told him: "You gave no thought to your own safety and you went down there to evacuate the train and I'm sure all those passengers you helped so ably are very grateful to you for your assistance."
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