7/7 victim saved by 'favourite seat'

A scientist only survived the 7/7 attacks because he was sitting in his "favourite" seat on one of the Tube trains targeted by suicide bombers, an inquest heard today.









Professor Philip Patsalos lost a leg in the blast on the Piccadilly Line service targeted by Jermaine Lindsay, 19, between King's Cross and Russell Square stations in London on July 7 2005.



But he said he would have been killed if he had opted for his second favourite seat, which was just inches from where the teenage terrorist detonated his device.



Prof Patsalos also described how a member of the emergency services passed by him in the bombed carriage, apparently thinking he was dead because he was surrounded by motionless bodies.



On the morning of the bombings, he had a "very modest" lie-in before setting off for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in central London, the inquests for the 52 victims of the attacks heard.



As usual he got on the first carriage of the Piccadilly Line train at Southgate Tube station and chose his favourite seat, number 90 on a plan used by the inquest team.



Prof Patsalos, an epilepsy specialist at University College London's institute of neurology, said he was "fortunate" to end up in his first choice seat that day.



"If I was seated on seat 90, I was about 3ft away from the bomber," he told the hearing.



"If I sat on my second favourite seat, I would have been 3cm from the bomber and I wouldn't be here today."







The scientist thought about leaving the train when it was delayed at Arnos Grove station but concluded it was better to stay on.



The service had just left King's Cross station when he felt a sudden shock and a surge of electricity going through his body.



He told the inquests: "I was shaking, I remember seeing my brain, my skeleton. I could see peculiar things.



"I remember thinking to myself, 'when is this going to finish?' It finished soon afterwards - it probably only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed like eternity."



Prof Patsalos recalled hearing screams and cries from the other passengers and seeing a young man jumping from seat to seat "like a chimpanzee" to get out of the train.



"I couldn't actually move, I could not see what had happened to me," he said.



"I felt down with my left hand my left leg, which is actually the leg that was particularly damaged as it was closest to the bomb.



"It was rather mushy and I thought, 'that's not good', and I started thinking to myself, 'I've got to stay alive, I'm going to die here'.



"And as time went on I thought, 'OK, I must survive, I must not die and if I need to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, so be it'."



He tried not to panic to avoid putting himself under further stress.



"I stayed calm and breathed in as slowly as necessary. My number one priority, as I could not do anything for anybody else, was to stay alive," he said.



Eventually a member of the emergency services appeared in the train, but he at first ignored the academic.



Prof Patsalos said: "He had a torch and he went over to my right and disappeared. I thought, 'why hasn't he stopped to say something to me?'



"Clearly the reason was because I was surrounded by motionless bodies, I would assume, and he thought I was also dead."



The scientist was carried out of the train on a stretcher to Russell Square station and taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.



He lost his left leg but his right leg, which was also badly injured, was saved by surgeons.



Prof Patsalos said he did not actively tell people that he now has a prosthetic limb, and some colleagues assumed he just had a knee or hip problem.



"I think I've dealt with it by being in denial in a way," he said.



"I've tried very hard to move forward and be positive, and try to fit into normal life and my environment, and I think I've coped very well."



He added: "How I survived, I don't know. Somebody saved me... I'm grateful."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

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...

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