LONDON: The London underground train blast that injured several on Friday (Sep 15) is being treated as terrorism, said British police.
“The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are investigating after the incident at Parsons Green tube station is declared a terrorist incident,” said Met Police in a tweet.
It added: “It is too early to confirm cause of fire – now subject to the investigation that is underway”.
Police, fire rescue and ambulance services said they were notified of the incident in west London at 8.20am. The station was closed, as well as an entire section of the District Line where it is located.
— Peter Crowley (@cupid5tunt) September 15, 2017
A Metro reporter was quoted by the paper as saying that a white container exploded on the train and passengers had suffered facial burns. She said they were “really badly burned” and that their “hair was coming off”.
Several Twitter users have also posted pictures of a white bucket smouldering on a train.
Police said they were aware of reports on social media and would release facts regarding the incident once they could be sure of their accuracy.
— Andy Webb (@andyjohnw) September 15, 2017
Explosion on Parsons Green district line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door. pic.twitter.com/pGbfotbfsJ
— Rigs (@RRigs) September 15, 2017
Richard Aylmer-Hall, 52, a media technology consultant, described “panic” on the train.
“There was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming,” he told the Press Association.
— J.N. PAQUET ✒ (@jnpaquet) September 15, 2017
“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,” he said.
“I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews,” he said.
BBC correspondent Riz Lateef, who was at the station travelling to work, said there was “panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion.
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) September 15, 2017
“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.
Armed British police officers walk through the carriage of a London underground tube carriage at Parsons Green station, following an incident on Sep 15, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivias)
British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “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 at west London tube station.”
May said she will chair a meeting of the National Security Committee later in the day.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.
“As London has proved again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.”
He also urged all Londoners to “remain calm and vigilant” and to refer to the Transport for London website for travel advice.
People stand in the street by a police car close to Parsons Green underground tube station on Sep 15, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
Earlier, British Foreign Secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson also appealed for calm.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I’m afraid my information is limited and it really is important not to speculate at the moment.”
“Obviously, everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way, as normal as they possibly can,” he said.
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.
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