Pants came a little bit close to being blown up for my liking. You can read her piece on that terrible London day here. I suppose many came close to being a victim of survivor.
Fortunately by the time we were in London in three years later, my memories of places affected by the bombs had faded. One was near Edgware Road Station, Edgware Road a street we were in a few times. Another was near Kings Cross Station, a station we used. Edgware Road is a street where a lot of Middle Eastern men and I would assume many get there by catching the Underground. Seems an odd place for Muslims to set off a bomb.
I have started following the coronial inquest of the 2005 London public transport bombings where fifty two people were killed. You can hear a seven minute recording of some of the confusion among Underground and Control Room staff. Click here for the recording from the Guardian to listen. The best that can be said is no none seemed to panic.
From the Guardian.
staff did not call a code amber, in which the entire underground network is closed, until 9.19am, almost 30 minutes after the first three bombs had been detonated.
Snipped from The Independent.
The inquest heard that the emergency response was marred by a series of failings that might have delayed urgent medical care to those underground. They included:
:: Staff at the London Underground co-ordination centre continued to tell colleagues the incident was not terrorist-related at 9.32am, 44 minutes after the first explosion;
:: The Piccadilly Line manager, based at Earls Court, could not make outgoing calls from 9am onwards because the telephone system was overloaded;
:: Firefighters waited for confirmation from Tube staff that power was off, despite a police officer placing his foot on the third rail at Aldgate;
:: Confusion over which direction the Algate train was facing, which part of it was damaged, and whether it was in Aldgate or Aldgate East;
:: Emergency services were sent to Praed Street, in Paddington, instead of Chapel Street, where Edgware Road station is located, and to Liverpool Street, not Aldgate;
:: One of the Tube's specialist response units was still stuck in traffic in Clapham, south London, at 9.40am, as it waited for a police escort.
No doubt London Underground had emergency procedures but I hope they have refined them since then. I hope Australia's various underground train systems have very good emergency procedures. I know Melbourne and Sydney have had rehearsals. In a disastrous emergency such as the London bombing, many many are dependent for perhaps their lives on not so very many people. It is just no good being wise after the event. Fail safe systems must be in place and must work among chaos and confusion.