Sunday, January 30, 2011

Part way through the 07/07 inquest

The 7th of July London bombing coronial inquest has almost finished the survivor questioning and statements. Lady Justice Hallett has praised the bravery of many, even the fire fighter who subsequently swapped careers to become a coke dealer and is now banged up in Wandsworth Prison (it could be any prison really, but I like the sound of Wandsworth).

The authorities now come under her gaze. I think they are in for a tough time.

A writer for The Guardian says,

Survivors staggering from the Aldgate train told how they shouted at paramedics who were waiting on the platform for instructions while people were dying just a few hundred yards away in the tunnel.

Fire crews did not arrive at the platform at Edgware Road until 9.44am, almost an hour after the explosion, where they waited instead of proceeding to the carriage. Paramedics quickly ran out of equipment and were reliant on what they could find in a nearby branch of Marks & Spencer. Ambulances from the two closest stations to the bomb site were not dispatched.

The driver of the train, Ray Whitehurst, with none of his communication equipment working, rang repeatedly for help from a fixed-line phone inside the tunnel, but was ignored. "I got the impression that no one really knew what they were doing," he said. A junior London Underground worker who had rushed, covered in soot and very distressed from the carriage to the station control room to get more first aid supplies, told the inquest his supervisor, Ken Leach, had told him to "piss off". Leach said he couldn't recall using those words.

Though the Tavistock Square bus blew up in broad daylight in a busy central London street, it took 52 minutes before ambulances were even dispatched. British Transport police officers who witnessed the explosion and ran to their nearby headquarters to raise help were instead prevented from leaving the HQ after being told it was in "lockdown".

And so, depressingly, on. However challenging the circumstances, there is no question that the capital's emergency services fell short in their response; how seriously they failed will be Lady Justice Hallett's duty to decide.

5 comments:

  1. What was the matter with them all? You would think they would have prepared for something like this after having so many threats

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  2. Sounds like there were just too many rules in place. After the IRA bombings, you would think they would be quite good at emergency response.

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  3. that list of errors is saddening.
    anyone who has ever had to dial 000 knows exactly how slow and maddening the entire process is.
    "there are dead and injured on the road"
    "What is your middle name?"
    !
    "What is the nearest corner?"
    "Punt Road"
    "could you spell that ?"

    Our pal Pants had a narrow escape on 7/7 in LON. A matter of different buses and pure chance.

    That fireman banged up must not have had a decent lawyer. anyone could have argued the trauma of that day caused him to become a coke dealer, and even got him damages, like $37million dollars for shock and stress.

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  4. Anonymous11:05 pm

    Hhhm. My mother was a nurse at Prince Henry's Hospital (in St Kilda Rd) when a serious traffic accident happened right outside. The nurses and other staff were told not to help until an ambulance attended and had the patients officially admitted. But in true Aussie traditon, they told authorities to bugger off while they rushed out to tend to the injured. This was the 1960s.

    Walker

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  5. I haven't had the pleasure of calling 000 but from what you say, it would be as I expect. You are too kind to Pants. She had a hangover didn't she and caught the wrong something t'other. I agree about the coke dealer. He had a good case for trauma.

    Walker, I have heard of similar situations now and they won't attend. Problem is if something goes wrong or the make a wrong call, then they will really get it in the neck for not following rules. Thus, natural human behaviour is prevented.

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.