Real-time report on events happening in London this morning.
09:50 am The London Underground railway system is at a standstill this morning due to explosions at 5 stations. Stations and areas affected include Aldgate, Moorgate, Russell Square, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Old Street, St Pancras, and Edgware Road. The explosions happened around 9.20am and were initially believed to be caused by a power surge.This is a major incident and there is absolute chaos in central london. Thousands of people are being evacuated by the police and there are multiple casualties. These are some of the busiest commuter hubs in London and the transport system is packed at this time. People are streaming out of stations covered in blood and soot, traffic in central London is at a standstill.
The National Grid says there is no evidence of a power surge which means another cause may be responsible.
An eye witness claims at 9.50 a huge explosion ripped the top off of a bus at Russel Square, Upper Woburn Place, just outside the British Medical Association. This implies a bomb explosion above ground. By 10.30 am Russell Square is completely evacuated but there is a lot of activity going on with emergency services caring for survivors. The wreckage indicates the bomb was placed on the top deck at the rear of the bus. It’s highly unlikely anyone survived on the top of the bus.
At 8.50 am eye witnesses are saying a bus driving towards Trafalger Square was bombed although this report is unconfirmed at the moment.
The whole of the tube network has been suspended. Some trains are stuck in tunnels. The police and emergency services have responded quickly and hospitals are on full alert.
Scotland Yard fears a series of terrorist attacks although this has not been confirmed. The Press Association reports three explosions on buses in central London.
The City Police, the Metropolitan Police and the Transport police are involved along with the Fire Service and Ambulance service.
If this is a terrorist attack it seems designed to cause maximum disruption to London, causing chaos in the transport system.
10:40 sources are now saying there have been some fatalities.
Another explosion has been heard at Tavistock Square at 10.50 am.
Mobile phone networks are becoming jammed as people try to contact friends and families. Emergency services are being given priority. An emergency protocol called ACO (Access Control Overload) is in operation.
At least 90 casualties are reported at Aldgate. Algate east station is being used to shelter casualties. The Royal London Hospital is nearby, the hospital helicopter is ferrying trauma specialists to various locations.
This comes at a time when the leaders of the world are meeting at Gleneagles in Scotland for the G8 summit. London Mayor Ken Livingstone is rushing back from Singapore where it was announced yesterday London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic games. There was no police intelligence suggesting an imminent terrorist attack at this time and no warning.
11.10 Transport for London has announced all undergound services have been suspended. The tube service will not resume today. Buses have been suspended in central London only. Services on the Docklands light Railway (DLR) are also suspended (resumed at 3:40). Mainline trains are still running. There is an air exclusion zone over central London.
Eye witnesses are reporting severe casualties onboard trains and buses.
Army personnel have been seen liasing with the police who are extremely stretched at the moment and the Isreali embassy has been taped off as a security measure. Civil contingency reports are in place with the army on the streets. British police and military forces have forty years experience of dealing with security alerts due to the IRA.
11.20 am Police have confirmed at least six explosions including a bus.
Due to the coordinated nature of the explosions, assessments point to a terrorist attack using explosive packages. There are comparisons being made to bus attacks in Isreal but it is thought unlikely that suicide bombers were involved.
There are almost certainly still people trapped underground, bewildered survivors are walking the streets too frightened to board emergency bus services.
Traffic cameras show the roof of the Russel Square bus has been blown completely off, to the opposite side of the road.
Arab sources that monitor al-Qaeda activities have told the BBC that this looks like an al-Qaeda attack.
11.35 Two poeple have died at Aldgate East.
Survivors report being trapped on undergound trains in darkness and smoke for 30 minutes. There was mass communication failure with trains still leaving platforms after the initial explosions. People used their bare hands and umbrellas to smash windows on carriages in an effort to get oxygen, believing they were going to burn to death. There was screaming and hysteria and people were praying out loud. Passengers were too frightened to leave trains because of the electric rails. People have been seen lying injured and dead in carriages and on rails in the tunnels. The initial medical response came from first aiders in the vicinity at the time.
Emergency services are gradually gaining control, the London emergency plan is in place, sniffer dogs can be seen looking for further devices.
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, makes a statement
condeming the terrorist attacks. He will leave the G8 summit to travel to London and return to Scotland in the evening to continue talks.
12.10 Kings Cross station has a tunnel rescue operation in progress.
Schools across London are making preparations for children to go home.
Official police advice to Londoners: Remain where you are. Do not travel.
Three double decker buses loaded with casualties have arrived at the Royal London Hospital.
Police Update 12:45
It appears three explosive devices were detonated on the London Underground and one device on a bus. Further explosions have not been ruled out. The level of security alert has been reasonably constant during the last few weeks.
The Reuters online news service is having problems with the server load at this time.
12:55 The British Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, makes a statement confirming four explosions.
from the G8 leaders expressing solidarity and determination to fight terrorism.
1:28 Tony Blair leaves Gleneagles by helicopter for London.
1:30 The American President George Bush gives a statement from Gleneagles expressing his condolences and asking for US citizens to be especially vigilant at this time.
It is believed about 150 people have been seriously injured with many more walking wounded. The number of people killed is expected to reach double figures, the injured around 1000. People are still trapped in wreckage. Video images taken from mobiles phones at the scene are now being shown on Sky TV.
I can hear the sound of emergency sirens around Canary Wharf at the moment, there appears to be another alert. People are stranded there due to the transport shutdown, they will have to use the riverboat service nearby.
02:20 the death toll estimated at around 45 with 7 believed to have died on the bus at Tavistock Square.
Summary of events
03:30 Police confirm at least 33 fatalities after blasts. No more people are trapped. There is no information about any arrests at this time. There is no suggestion of any chemical or biological threat.
The first explosion occured on a train between Aldgate East
and Liverpool Street (08:51; 7 fatalities), the second on a train between Russell Square and Kings Cross
(08:56; 21 fatalities), the third on a train between Edgware Road
and Paddington (09:17; 7 fatalities), the fourth on a bus at Tavistock Square
(09:47; 2 fatalities).
Hotlines Please only use these resources if you have a genuine emergency enquiry.
- Emergency casualty hotline 0870 1566 344.
- Australian citizens hotline 1800 002 214 website
- U.S. citizens hotline +1 888 407 4747 (toll free)
- Counter Terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.
Police have found traces of explosives at two locations, as yet there has been no direct claim of responsibility. A group called al-Qaeda Europe is claiming responsibility on a website. Security services believe the website to be legitimate. Denmark and Italy are being warned by the group that they will be next.
Over 100 ambulance vehicles and 250 staff attended the scenes. 40 fire engines and over 200 firefighters were involved.
5:55 pm There is a security alert in Victoria station due to a suspect package onboard a bus, police are telling people to leave the area as quickly as possible.
Fatalities stand at 49, more than 700 injured and there are a number of seriously ill people still in hospital. Injuries include burns, amputations, fractures, lacerations and smoke inhalation.
Tens of Thousands of people are experiencing difficulties getting home this evening due to the major transport disruptions.
Friday 8th July It’s now known that 13 people died on the bus. Total fatalities stand at 49.
Saturday 9th July It would appear now that all three train bombs went off simultaneously at 08:50 am.
Monday 11th July Total fatalities have increased to 52.
The image below was taken by Adam Stacey. He was on the northern line just past Kings Cross. The train suddenly stopped and filled with smoke. People in the carriage smashed tube windows to get out and then were evacuated along the train tunnel. He’s suffering from smoke inhalation but fine otherwise. This image is distributed under a CC license and is from here.
Bus Photo by Obi Felten