Recording of 7 July 999 call is replayed

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The Independent Online

Panicked and breathless, the taped voice of a young man echoed eerily in the glass chamber of City Hall as people listened, heads bowed. "There's a bus just exploded outside in Tavistock Square, outside my window," the office worker said. A police operator asked: "Tavistock Square?"

The young man continued: "Yeah, in London. There's people lying on the ground. I think there's ambulances on the way, but there's people dead by the looks of it."

The 999 call was played yesterday to the London Assembly's July 7 review committee. It had come in at 9.49am, two minutes after a bomb destroyed a No 30 bus, killing 13 of the 52 victims who died that day, as well as the suicide bomber.

The committee was questioning emergency services on what lessons could be learnt. Tributes were paid to the bravery of many but there were failures. Police apologised because worried families had to pay for calls to the casualty line, which was not operating until eight hours after the blasts.

And Tim O'Toole, London Underground's managing director, said the "antiquated" communication system had largely failed and emergency services and staff had to use their own radios. The meeting was adjourned until 1 December.

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