Potters Bar rail crash 'like being in a dryer'

A senior RAF officer told an inquest yesterday how passengers caught up in the Potters Bar train crash "floated" as their carriage overturned.

Wing Commander Martin Rose said he thought he was in an "an unsurvivable accident" when the 12.45pm King's Cross to King's Lynn service left the tracks at around 1pm on 10 May, 2002. Mr Rose, a navigator who was about to start a job at RAF Marham, near King's Lynn, likened the experience to being in a "tumble dryer".

Six train passengers – Austen Kark, Emma Knights, Chia Hsin Lin, Chia Chin Wu, Alexander Ogunwusi and Jonael Schickler, as well as pedestrian Agnes Quinlivan, died and more than 70 people were hurt in the accident. Mr Rose, 46, now based in Kuwait, was speaking as the inquest in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, began to hear evidence about the accident at Potters Bar station.

The hearing is expected to last more than two months. A jury had heard how the train ran over faulty points and the last of four carriages, where Mr Rose was sitting, became detached and airborne.

"The first thing that was not right was that there was a violent lateral judder," he said. "That was momentary. Almost immediately thereafter, I was aware that we had derailed. I was bouncing up and down on my seat. My first instinct was to try and save my drink."

Mr Rose said the carriage tilted and rolled. "It rapidly became how I would imagine it is being inside a tumble dryer," he added. "I floated up out of my seat." He said he then noticed an "elderly gentleman" – Austen Kark, who died in the accident.

"He and I were floating in mid air," said Mr Rose. "I blindly reached out and managed to get hold of a rail on the luggage rack... It was enough to save my life I would suggest. As far as I was concerned, it was now an unsurvivable accident."

He said he lost consciousness then woke up to find himself wedged in a gangway, realising he had "numerous" cuts. He then realised that the carriage was wedged on the platform.

The hearing continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests