Commuter commended for helping victims of 7/7 attacks

A commuter who came to the aid of three victims of the 7 July bombings was yesterday praised by the coroner at the inquest into the 2005 terrorist attacks.

Coroner Lady Justice Hallett told Colin Pettet the survivors will "always be grateful" to him. Mr Pettet, who was also injured in the bombing, had to stop giving evidence to compose himself as he described coming across a man lying face-down on the tracks.

"I tried to get a pulse on him but couldn't find a pulse in his neck or his hands or on his arms. He appeared dead," he said.

Mr Pettet also recalled the moment suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his device.

"There was a flash and an exceptionally loud bang, a noise, probably the loudest noise I've ever heard in my life," he said. "From that point on, it went very dark; the train had come to a very sudden halt."

After getting out of the wrecked carriage, he found three people by the side of the tracks who had been thrown from the train by the blast. They included the man without a pulse and Thelma Stober, who lost her right leg in the bombing. The third victim was a man aged around 40 who was sitting upright but did not respond.

Mr Pettet stayed with the man and Ms Stober as other passengers evacuating from the train streamed past along the tracks to the safety of Aldgate station.

Another passenger on the Aldgate train, who was standing so near to Tanweer that he was blinded in his left eye by a splinter from the terrorist's shinbone, was told by the coroner it was "astonishing" that he survived to tell his story.

Philip Duckworth, an investment banker, who was travelling from St Albans that day, told the inquest: "I woke up – in the very loosest sense of the word – on the rails.

"I just remember some guys went past. There was a guy with a torch and I think they looked down and said, 'Oh no, this one's gone', and then moved on."

Eventually, rescuers evacuated Mr Duckworth from the tunnel using a ladder as a stretcher. At one point, they dropped him. "I will be honest, I was glad of anything at that point," he said.