Sellotape and tables used to help 7/7 casualties
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Rescuers used Sellotape and tables from local hotels to treat and move victims of the 7/7 bus bombing, the inquest into the attacks heard today.
One badly-injured survivor was fitted with a makeshift splint made out of tape and pieces of wood found in the road.
Suicide bomber Hasib Hussain, 18, killed 13 innocent people when he blew himself up on a number 30 bus in London's Tavistock Square on July 7 2005.
Pc Christopher Mitchell, one of the first police officers to reach the scene, described how rescuers used whatever they could lay their hands on to evacuate casualties.
Tables from local hotels were used as stretchers to move the injured into the courtyard of the headquarters of the British Medical Association (BMA), located next to the devastated bus.
Pc Mitchell recalled telling doctors from BMA who asked how they could assist, "Pick a casualty and see what you can do."
He also helped to move survivor Mark Beck, who lost his right leg in the blast, to a nearby hotel for treatment.
The officer said: "His leg was in quite a bad way. Somebody got hold of some Sellotape, we used Sellotape and some bits of wood we found on the road to make a splint and we Sellotaped his leg together."
Pc Mitchell, a former soldier who was only six months out of his probationary period with the Metropolitan Police, said he asked for all other buses in the area to be stopped and searched for explosives.
He feared further bombs could be primed to go off after Camille Scott-Bradshaw, one of those wounded in the bus blast, told him she saw a fellow passenger on the back of the number 30 "fiddling" with a package before the explosion.
The officer told the inquest: "I remember turning around and looking back towards Euston Road and I could see buses moving still up and down - it was very surreal.
"And I feared there were potentially more packages on other buses possibly.
"So I certainly wanted buses in the immediate vicinity to be stopped and some form of search conducted."
He said it seemed "common sense" to him that other buses in the area should be halted and their passengers evacuated.
The families of some of those killed in the Tavistock Square bombing have questioned why London's entire public transport network was not shut down immediately after three Tube trains were blown up an hour earlier.
The coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, paid tribute to Pc Mitchell's efforts.
She told him: "No amount of training in the military or the police can prepare you for what confronted you on the streets of London that day.
"Despite the obvious risk to yourself, you did everything possible to save lives and to minimise injury.
"I have no doubt that your efforts and the efforts of your colleagues made a significant difference, and I commend you."
A GP who helped to treat the injured and dying was hailed for the "incredible job" she did.
Dr Michelle Du-Feu happened to be travelling on another bus passing through Tavistock Square when Hussain detonated his device on the number 30.
She immediately got off and rushed over to help the victims of the blast, the inquest heard.
The doctor went into the reception of the BMA and asked a security guard to look after her bag while she tended to the casualties.
"He said it was dangerous and there were a lot of people injured. I told him I had to go because I was a doctor," she said.
Giving evidence by video-link, Dr Du-Feu, who in 2005 was living in Basingstoke, Hampshire, became distressed as she recalled her efforts to save lives.
The coroner told her: "You did an incredible job on July 7 in the best traditions of the medical profession, and you did everything you could to save the badly injured.
"No-one is surprised that you have tried to wipe the traumatic events from your mind."
Meanwhile, a commuter said a policeman ordered him to leave Tavistock Square because of the danger of a further blast as he tried to comfort a woman badly injured in the bus bombing.
Richard Collins told the officer: "I can't just leave her, she's dying."
But he agreed to go, not wanting to hinder the emergency services.
Mr Collins, who in 2005 was living in Watford, Hertfordshire, became caught up in the tragedy as he walked to work through Tavistock Square following the Tube disruption caused by the earlier bombs.
He spoke of his anger at an onlooker who was filming the aftermath of the bus attack on his mobile phone instead of helping the victims.
The coroner told him: "As members of the general public, I suspect we would all like to think that we would do what you did and run towards the scene to help rather than run away to safety.
"I'm not sure we all would react in the way you did."
The attacks launched on July 7 2005 by Hussain, Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, and Jermaine Lindsay, 19, were the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil.
As well as killing themselves and 52 others, the bombers injured more than 700 people.
The inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, which is expected to last until March, was adjourned until tomorrow.
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