Commuters have told of the panic at a London Underground station following an explosion on a District Line train.
Emma Stevie, 27, was on the train when the explosion happened at Parsons Green, in south-west London, and was caught in a “stampede” and crush on the station steps.
“We got on the train at Parsons Green, then I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’,” she said.
“We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.
“There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on.
“I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.
“There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.”
Ms Stevie said she saw a young boy with head and other injuries.
“It was horrible, I can’t think how many people were underneath me in the crush.
“The fire brigade was telling us to get back on the platform, but no-one was.
“There was a full Tube’s worth of people on the steps – hundreds of people.
“I saw a lady with water being poured over the face and hands who I think had been burnt in the explosion.
The injuries from the stampede seemed the worst. I’m outside now, there are women crying and people sitting on the floor.”
Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall, who was sitting on the “packed” District Line train where the explosion happened, said he saw several people injured having apparently been trampled as they tried to escape.
The 53-year-old said: “Suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming.
“There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off.”
Luke O’Connor, who was also on the train, said: “There (were) lots of school kids on there, mothers doing the school run.
“I was sitting next to a girl who was just doing her spellings, people just getting ready for the day… It was just more of a shock really. You never expect it to happen.”
He told the BBC that there had been a “loud explosion” from another carriage, followed by a smell “sort of sulphuric acid, when you go into science lab at school, that type of smell”.
Mr O’Connor praised Tube staff, who he said were “superb” in getting people off safely and as quickly as possible.
He said some people appeared to have burns.
‘I could smell the burning’
Commuter Eduardo Moreira, from Wimbledon, said he thought most of the injuries had been caused by people “panicking and running away”.
He said: “Even in my carriage, one guy just yelled to stop. They were passing over this lady. She was being trampled on.
“There was high panic. The problem was people didn’t know what was happening.
“I could smell the burning. I walked down the platform and saw the bucket on fire.
“It looked like a paint bucket. It had a sweater on it. It was just starting to light up.”
Another commuter, Sham, told BBC Radio 5 live he had been heading in to the station when he saw “hordes of people… trying to get down as quickly as they could”.
“The whole staircase was full of people.
“There were people on the floor, all like toppling over each other. There were loads of people crying and shaking,” he said.
He added that there were “loads of people limping and covered in blood and stuff from like where they’d fallen over and hurt themselves”.
‘Flames all around’
Sylvain Pennec, a software developer from Southfields, south-west London, said he had been about 10 metres (30ft) from the source of the explosion when fire filled the carriage.
“I heard a boom, and when I looked, there were flames all around,” he said.
“People started to run but we were lucky to be stopping at Parsons Green as the door started to open.”
Mr Pennec described the panic as commuters struggled to escape the carriage, “collapsing and pushing” each other.
He stayed behind to take a closer look at what he believed was the source of the explosion.
“It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise,” he said.
“I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked home-made.”
‘Blood and dirt’
Commuter Robyn Frost was arriving at the station when she saw people trying to escape.
She told the BBC: “I was just about to walk into the station and there were a few people standing outside and there was a woman sitting on the pavement with blood around her.
“She was crying and she was really hysterical. And I walked into the station there was just blood on the floor and people running down the stairs screaming ‘get out’.
“People were coming out of the station… covered in blood and dirt.”