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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

London underground attack: Witnesses describe ‘fireball’ on Parsons Green tube

Twenty-two people were taken to hospital after a bomb detonated on a packed commuter train in south-west London

An injured woman is led away after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. Luke MacGregor/ Reuters
An injured woman is led away after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. Luke MacGregor/ Reuters

An underground station in a residential area of affluent south-west London was the setting for Britain’s fifth terror attack this year.

Twenty-two people were taken to hospital on Friday when a bomb exploded on a packed tube car in Parsons Green at 8.20am. Many of those injured are being treated for flash burns.

Eyewitnesses at the scene described a “fireball” coming towards them as the device detonated while the train was in the station.

Read more: Police hunt bomber as London commuter train hit in terrorist attack

"The first thing I saw was an orange sort of fireball encompassing the whole Tube", said Charlie Craven a city worker, who was on the train on his way to London’s financial centre.

He added: "Bit like you see on 24, the TV show, or a movie sort of situation."

More were injured in a stampede as passengers tried to flee from the platform and up the narrow stairway, fearing a further explosion or a gunman.

"People were being trampled on. I tried to get out of the way but I could feel myself getting pushed down the stairs," said Louis Hather, who was travelling three carriages along from where the explosion took place.

Staff from a local Italian restaurant handed out pizza and water from a stall near Parsons Green tube station. Hannah McKay/Reuters
Staff from a local Italian restaurant handed out pizza and water from a stall near Parsons Green tube station. Hannah McKay/Reuters

"I went back and got my stuff. I could smell the burning. Like when you burn plastic."

Mr Hather, an IT worker, suffered cuts and bruising to his leg while trying to exit the station.

Other people at the scene described children being caught up in the crush as well as a pregnant woman falling on the stairs.

"People were falling over each other," said Sally Faulding, a 51-year-old teacher.

Emergency services arrived at the scene promptly and area surrounding the station, which lies in a leafy district in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, was cordoned off by police.

Hours after the explosion, the area is still cordoned off and there is a heavy police presence.

However, joggers can be seen running around the street while mothers are pushing prams. Diners are sitting on terraces in nearby restaurants enjoying an unusually-sunny September.

An owner of a pizzeria is handing out free food and water to police, press and residents stood around the cordon.

People appear to be carrying on despite the horror that took place earlier on that day.

“I travel to Parsons Green by tube every morning,” said an office worker, stood observing the world’s media who had descended on the scene. “It’s scary but you can’t just stop what you do because of something like this?”

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