Tube workers ignored safety rules to help 7/7 victims, inquest hears

Brave Tube workers ignored safety concerns and ventured into a tunnel to help the bloodied victims of the July 7 bombings, an inquest heard today.

Brave Tube workers ignored safety concerns and ventured into a tunnel to help the bloodied victims of the July 7 bombings, an inquest heard today.

London Underground staff at Aldgate rushed to the aid of passengers trapped in the carnage after suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his bomb on an eastbound Circle Line train near the station, killing seven people.

Less than a mile away at Liverpool Street station meanwhile, staff were barred from the tunnel by a British Transport Police (BTP) officer who feared secondary devices.

The Aldgate staff who disregarded BTP's safety fears were praised by the coroner for their courage in helping those caught up in the 2005 atrocities.

Station supervisor Olaniyi Falayi descended into the tunnel anyway as he had seen the walking wounded emerging, he said.

One of the many horrific sights to greet him was that of a woman pinned to the floor of a Tube carriage by an upright pole.

He told the inquest: "(The BTP officers) were discussing whether to go on the track or not.

"Police officers were saying we didn't know the situation down there, that it would be dangerous to go.

"But (my colleague) and I decided to go anyway."

The Tube workers first encountered a victim with a hole in their side and took them upstairs, Mr Falayi said.

Back in the tunnel, they showed passengers who had been on the Tube how to walk safely down the track on to the platform.

Mr Falayi then entered the train.

He said: "One lady was pinned down by the upright (pole). She was thrashing about.

"We asked her her name and she said she was Trisha. She calmed down after a while.

"We told her to stop moving and that paramedics were on their way."

The woman was in fact 24-year-old Carrie Taylor, one of the seven fatalities.

Coroner Lady Justice Hallett told Mr Falayi: "You were very brave and I'm sure the efforts you made, despite the risk to yourself, to save and help people there at that dreadful scene will provide some comfort to those who have either lost people or who themselves were dreadfully injured."

She also heaped praise on another Tube worker, who told the inquest how he spent half an hour in the tunnel amid the smoke and dead bodies.

Stephen Eldridge, a Metropolitan line operator, was waiting on the mezzanine level of the station to pick up a train that morning when he heard an enormous bang from the direction of the tunnel.

After checking that the electric current through the Tube line had been turned off, he made his way into the tunnel.

He said: "We couldn't see anything because of the amount of smoke and dust that was coming down...

"We went to car three and it was full of smoke and people and they were in a very distressed state, wanting to get out."

His first priority was to let some air into the smoke-filled carriage so everyone could breath, he said.

So he prised open the door with some paddles.

He then helped evacuate passengers from the tunnel, trying meanwhile to shield from their view the dead bodies strewn around him.

He added: "I could hear a female screaming in pain but couldn't locate her. I felt helpless."

Lady Justice Hallett told him: "You gave no thought to your own safety and you went down there to evacuate the train and I'm sure all those passengers you helped so ably are very grateful to you for your assistance."

But other witnesses painted a picture of confusion at Liverpool Street station.

Duty station manager Darren Glazer assumed silver control - the second most senior level of command - and planned to send staff down to the scene to find out what had happened.

But Detective Chief Inspector Al Lawson turned up and appointed himself silver control for BTP, Mr Glazer said.

Giving evidence to the inquest into the deaths of the 52 people killed in the terror attacks, he said: "There was some smoke coming out from the direction of Aldgate through the tunnel into our platforms.

"We planned to (find out the exact location of what had occurred) but then I was stopped by DCI Lawson."

He went on: "Our intentions at the time were to actually go, or send staff on to the track and investigate first hand as to what had happened...

"So I appointed a supervisor on duty on the day...for him to take staff down the tunnel towards Aldgate...

"DCI Lawson said he wasn't going to allow anyone to go down."

Asked where DCI Lawson had come from, he replied: "I haven't got a clue. From what I believe, he was travelling through, he was on his way to work."

He added: "I couldn't allow my staff to do what I wanted them to do because I was stopped by DCI Lawson because of the possibility of secondary devices."

No-one was sent down to the track for at least the first 25 minutes, the inquest heard.

Mr Glazer said: "Throughout the entirety of the events taking place, it was just confusion, no one seemed to have any answers as to exactly what was going on, what the problem was, or where the problem was precisely.

"There was lots of conflicting stories and information coming out."

A group station manager admitted it was only when he saw reports of the bombings on television later in the morning that he fully appreciated what had happened.

Giving evidence, Tom O'Riordan, who was also based at Liverpool Street, said: "The first time I probably accepted (it) was just after 11am when I saw it on the BBC."

He described the television news report as the first "credible" indication there had been an attack.

And Daniel Kemp, control room assistant at the station, learnt what had happened by speaking to his mother on the phone.

He told the inquest: "(My mother called) and told me there were problems at other stations and on a bus and she wanted to see if I was all right."

Suicide bomber Tanweer and his conspirators Mohammed Sidique Khan (aged 30) Jermaine Lindsay (aged 19) and Hasib Hussain (aged 18) killed 52 people and injured more than 700 in the attacks at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross and Tavistock Square.

The inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, expected to last up to five months, was adjourned until tomorrow.

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