'The worst bit is the waiting. Whatever you do just doesn't seem to be enough'

Deep underground at King's Cross an unknown number of bodies are still to be recovered. Julia Stuart spoke to the families and friends of the many people missing, hoping against hope that, somewhere, their loved one is alive
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The Independent Online

More posters appeared closer to the station, the site of the second blast which claimed the highest number of lives. As well as another photograph of Miriam, there was one of Anthony Fatayi Williams wearing an open-neck white shirt and brown jacket. With them was a black and white appeal for Rachelle Lieng Siong Chung For Yuen, who was smiling broadly at the camera.

On the pavement outside WH Smith was an ever-growing pile of flowers behind crash barriers manned by the Salvation Army. "London We Love You!" said one card. Many leaned against the barriers staring at the tributes in disbelief. Others took photographs on their phones.

But precisely who the flowers were for was still unknown yesterday. A number of bodies remained unidentified in the twisted wreckage of the Piccadilly line train, in addition to the 21 known to have died. There are also bodies still waiting to be identified from the No 30 bus which exploded in Tavistock Square. Anguished families and friends of the missing searched the capital's streets with photographs hoping that someone, somewhere had seen their loved one alive. Many sent pictures to the media. Sky News ran a ticker tape of appeals from relatives. More than 100,000 people have called an emergency police hotline staffed by more than 200 workers from 21 forces.

The parents of Miriam Hyman, 32, a freelance picture researcher from East Finchley, north London, don't know what else they can do. They last spoke to her around 9.30am on Thursday when she was outside King's Cross. She had been trying to get to work at Canary Wharf. "We've had no news," said her father, John, who is retired. "She certainly wasn't injured on the Underground because I spoke to her and at that time she was with a crowd of people evacuated from trains on the pavement outside King's Cross station. The only other possibility, apart from a road accident, is if she was on the bus that was blown up. The reason we think that is unlikely is because it wouldn't make sense for her to take that route. And I was speaking to her about that time and her office phoned her at about 10am, which was about 10 minutes after the explosion to say 'don't come in'. We think maybe she has gone into shock. Her mobile is off. She could have walked away from her handbag in shock. I think she's still in the Greater London area because when I checked yesterday afternoon her car was still in the local station car park."

Most of the legworkhas been carried out by her friends. "My wife and I are in our seventies and fairly arthritic," said Mr Hyman. "Miriam's many friends have been superb. They took the day off on Friday and there was a carload going through hotels with photographs of her and a couple of friends covered the hospitals.

"We would be gibbering wrecks if it weren't for those two phone calls which give us a lot of hope. It's still a fairly frightening experience. She's a lively, outgoing, very gregarious person with a lot of friends and a busy social life. She's a very chatty, very friendly person. If her face means anything please phone in."

Yesterday, the mother of Anthony Fatayi Williams flew in from Nigeria to try to find her son. Anthony, 25, from Hendon, north London, an executive for an engineering and construction firm, was on his way to work. "We still haven't heard anything," said his cousin Yomi Williams, 23, from London. "We sent his pictures to the newspapers, posted them on the internet, we did a lot of TV interviews, we've put posters everywhere, checked all the hospitals about four or five times and we still didn't get anything. He called his workplace and said he was being evacuated and he was going to get a bus. We think he was on the No 30. I feel terrible. I haven't eaten or slept for two days. I'm just hoping and praying that he's OK. He's a very nice, loving guy, very straightforward and loved by many. He has a lot of friends and always tries to help people. He's a good person with a good heart."

Billy, the husband of Rachelle Yuen, a 27-year-old accountant, has twice scoured the hospitals. The last time he saw his wife of less than a year was when she left home in Mill Hill, north London, to travel to work in Piccadilly Circus. Mr Yuen, 29, also an accountant, said: "She walked out the door and that's the last time I saw her. I'm desperate for information. I've been round the hospitals, I've phoned the hotline and read so many reports. I don't know what else to do. I'm still hoping. She's a strong woman. I don't know what's going on. I feel empty. If anyone has seen her, please contact me. I think she may have been involved in the King's Cross blast, but it's not her normal way to work. The worst bit is the waiting. Whatever you do just doesn't seem to be enough."

Yesterday, many were returning to the hospitals - for some their fifth visit. Shyanuja Parathasangary, 30, has not been seen by her parents since she left the home they share in Kensal Rise on Thursday to go to work. She arrived at Euston at 9.08am. Her mother, Ruth, who came to University College Hospital looking for her, feared she may have then got on the No 30 bus to take her to work at the Royal Mail offices in Alder Street.

"She did not say anything when she left, she just gave me a sweet smile," she said. Ruth and her husband had visited five hospitals. "They say 'get in touch with the emergency numbers'. Some of the hospitals have been reluctant to help."

Back at King's Cross, Tim Runacre, 25, added a bunch of red roses to the long line of bouquets. The 25-year-old's voice was unsteady. He was very nearly one of the murdered. Mr Runacre, a product development manager who lives in Enfield, was in one of the last carriages of the train that exploded at King's Cross. "There was an awful bang then the carriage filled up with smoke," he said. "For a moment we all thought 'this is it'. Someone said they thought they could hear a train coming towards us. That was horrible, the wind in the tunnel plays with your mind. People were panicking and trying to smash windows. They were making so much noise it was really distressing other people. You could hear those God-awful bangs of people throwing themselves at the doors. All the carriages were rocking. A few people fainted."

They were eventually escorted out, covered with soot, by police. "They were bringing up people head to toe in blood," said Mr Runacre, who didn't sleep on Thursday night. "People were wandering around shell-shocked. A lot of the people I saw going into the Tube are now dead. I feel guilty that I got away so easily." The relatives of the missing are still praying for such a lucky escape.