7/7 inquest hears of 'remarkable heroism'

Tube travellers displayed “remarkable heroism” in risking their lives to help injured and dying victims of the 7/7 attacks, an inquest heard today.

Tube travellers displayed “remarkable heroism” in risking their lives to help injured and dying victims of the 7/7 attacks, an inquest heard today.

An off-duty doctor ignored orders to leave the Aldgate train so she could continue giving life-saving assistance, while passengers on a second service clambered into the carriage blown up at Edgware Road to aid the wounded.

Dramatic video showing the wreckage of the three Tube trains and the bus targeted by suicide bombers in London on July 7 2005 was played to the hearing today.

The never-before-seen footage, filmed by police after the dead and injured were taken away, shows the horrific scenes that met survivors and rescuers.

Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, said the emergency services were confronted by a “horrifying scene of mangled flesh, torn bodies, debris and metal”.

Maimed bodies with amputated limbs lay scattered throughout the carriages as paramedics attempted to distinguish between the dead and the dying in the darkness.

On the Aldgate train the set of double doors closest to where Shehzad Tanweer, 22, detonated his bomb were completely ripped off.

The ceiling of the carriage was charred and partially collapsed, with personal possessions including bags and drinks bottles abandoned among large pools of blood.

Among the heroes of the Aldgate bombing was Gerardine Quaghebeur, a consultant neurologist who was sitting in the same carriage as Tanweer.

After the blast London Underground staff told her to join the other passengers escaping down the track, but she stayed to help the injured and dying, the inquests heard.

Off-duty police officer Elizabeth Kenworthy, who was also on the Aldgate train, applied tourniquets to Andrew Brown and Martine Wright, who both lost their legs in the blast, as well as holding their hands and comforting them.

Another video documented how the homemade rucksack bomb of plot mastermind Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, obliterated the second carriage of a Circle Line train at Edgware Road.

Passengers on a train passing in the opposite direction climbed into the wreckage to help “without regard for their personal safety”, the hearing was told.

Mr Keith said: “The terrible tragedy at Edgware Road led, as with the other scenes, to acts of remarkable heroism and human fortitude.

“As the bombed westbound train and eastbound train came to rest alongside one another, the horror of what had occurred became plain to the occupants of the other train.

“At first they heard cries of anguish and for help, but once the smoke began to clear the devastated second carriage was in view just inches away in the tunnel.”

They were joined by travellers from other carriages on the bombed train.

“These individuals, alongside many occupants of the bombed carriage, assisted the injured and the dying prior to the arrival of the emergency services,” Mr Keith said.

Among those who helped was Steve Hucklesby, a passenger on the other train, who had to use the handrails in the wrecked carriage to swing across the debris littering the floor.

Finding a woman lying on the floor with her eyes open, he gave her CPR but after several attempts, realised it was impossible to resuscitate her.

The second day of the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims of the 7/7 bombings heard harrowing accounts of their final moments.

The force of the blast in the King’s Cross attack carried out by Jermaine Lindsay, 19, was so great that six of the 26 people killed were blown onto the tracks.

Earlier delays on the Piccadilly Line meant the train was extremely crowded, with up to 1,500 passengers packed in “crushed” conditions, the hearing was told.

Among those thrown violently out of the carriage by the explosion were Lee Harris, 30, and his partner, Samantha Badham, 35, who were both found alive and lying close together but did not survive.

Many of the 13 people murdered by Hasib Hussain, 18, on the number 30 bus at Tavistock Square were trying to escape the travel chaos sparked by the earlier Tube blasts, the hearing was told.

The victims included Miriam Hyman, 31, who was advised by her father to stop for a cup of coffee just before she boarded the bus.

The inquests also heard further details about the problems that beset the emergency services after the bombings, including:

- It took up to 15 minutes to get requests for more help back to control rooms because staff radios did not work underground.

- The driver of the Aldgate train heard passengers screaming “help us” behind him but could not respond because his personal address system was not working.

- The Tube bombs went off at 8.50am but the first fire engine only reached Edgware Road at 9.18am and the control rooms were not told that Russell Square had been targeted until 9.13am.

The inquests at the Royal Courts of Justice in London have a wide-ranging remit to examine whether the emergency services’ response was adequate and whether MI5 and the police could have prevented the attacks.

The hearing continues tomorrow with evidence about the four bombers’ journeys to London on July 7 2005.

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