Eyewitnesses report chaotic scenes at Parsons Green station after explosion on train, apparently by improvised device; none of injuries serious or life-threatening
(SOURCE) Twenty-two people were hospitalized following an explosion on a London Underground train on Friday morning, in what local police later declared to be a terror attack.
The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter that counter-terrorism units were leading the investigation after the blast at the Parsons Green station “is declared a terrorist incident.”
Witnesses reported seeing passengers who had suffered facial burns and had hair coming off, with at least two women seen being treated by medics amid scenes of panic during rush hour.
London emergency services confirmed 22 people had been hospitalized after the attack. None of the injuries were serious or life-threatening, the ambulance service said.
“Explosion on Parsons Green District Line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door,” said Twitter user @Rrigs, who posted pictures of a white bucket smoldering on the train.
The bucket looked like the type used by builders and there appeared to be cables coming out of it. According to Sky News, investigators suspect the device did not fully detonate.
The station was closed, as well as an entire section of the District Line where it is located and police urged people to stay away from the area.
A Metro.co.uk reporter at the scene was quoted by the paper as saying that some passengers were “really badly burned” and their “hair was coming off.”
London Fire Brigade also said they were at the scene and were called at 8:21 a.m. (0721 GMT).
“I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets,” eyewitness Richard Aylmer-Hall, 53, said. “Some people got pushed over and trampled on, I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews.”
BBC correspondent Riz Lateef, who was at the station traveling to work, said there was “panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion.
“People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panic.”
Natasha Wills, assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service said in a statement: “Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries.”
She said the ambulance service had sent “multiple resources” to the station, including a hazardous area response team.
Another witness, Sham, told the radio station he had seen a man with blood all over his face.
“There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood,” he said.
The incident comes after a series of terror attacks that have rocked Britain this year, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds, putting the capital on high alert.
British Foreign Secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson appealed for calm.
“I’m afraid my information is limited and it really is important not to speculate at the moment,” he told Sky News.
“Obviously, everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way, as normal as they possibly can,” he said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said her “thoughts are with those injured” in the terrorist incident and she will chair an emergency cabinet meeting later on Friday.
“My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and the emergency services who, once again, are responding swiftly and bravely to a suspected terrorist incident,” May said.