On the morning of July 7, 2005 four suicide bombers launched an attack on London’s transport system. Within an hour 52 people were killed and over 750 injured in the deadliest attack on the capital since the Blitz.
Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, survivors, victims and rescuers remember the events of that morning. Combining the eyewitness testimony of more than 20 individuals, The 7/7 Bombing – Survivors’ Stories focuses on the hour between the first three explosions on the Tube system at 8.50am and the final explosion just before 9.50am on a bus in Tavistock Square.
Commuters on a Circle line train which was devastated by a bomb at Edgware Road offer personal insights. Passenger Jacqui Putnam describes the aftermath of the explosion, as the windows were blown out. She says: “The air was full of tiny shards of glass – and they glittered.”
Tim Coulson was travelling on a Tube going in the opposite direction and was among a group of passengers who broke out of their train to try to help those injured by the blast. He says: “Instinct alone drove me to help, not knowing where I was going really.”
Tim entered the bombed carriage to find a scene of devastation. He says: “What I did see immediately on the floor was a passenger lying conscious on the floor. A gentleman I now know is David.”
With minimal first aid skills and no equipment, Tim had little to offer the seriously injured man other than the presence of another human being. David says: “He was just a voice to me, Tim.” Having made David as comfortable as he could, Tim was then confronted by the sight of a charred corpse – which he later found out was the remains of the bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.
At almost the same time, also on the Circle line, another bomb detonated on a train just outside Aldgate. Michael Henning, who was in the carriage next to the bomber, described being caught in a yellow and orange explosion. He says: “It was so quick, there was no time to blink.”
Fellow passengers Thelma Stober and Kira Mason were both in the bombed compartment. Kira was flung backwards and pinned to the wall of the buckled compartment by metal and debris. Thelma was blown through the doors of the still moving train and landed between the tracks. She says: “I opened my eyes and found myself on the train track partially underneath the train. I could see people on the floor of the train and I could see people lying around. People were screaming and crying.”
While the emergency services tended to injured passengers underground, hundreds of thousands of commuters sought alternative routes to work. One of those trying to use the already overcrowded buses was young executive Anthony Fatayi-Williams. He was on the top deck of the number 30 bus when it was destroyed by a bomb in Tavistock Square, and was killed along with ten others. Anthony’s mother Marie says she forgives the bomber, despite the fact he killed her son. She says: “We are all different but that should not make a difference. Whether you are black, white, grey, red, yellow, Muslim, Christian, agnostic, and whatever – we are all having the same blood running through our veins and that’s what makes us human.”
The 7/7 Bombing – Survivors’ Stories, Tuesday, 9pm