British authorities have confirmed an explosion at Parsons Green underground station was an act of terrorism and that several people have been injured.
Improvised explosive device caused Parsons Green explosion; police term it terror-related incident
An explosion on a London Underground train that injured 18 people on Friday was caused by an “improvised explosive device”, police said.
“At 8:20 this morning at Parsons Green station there was an explosion on a Tube train. We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” police counter-terror chief Mark Rowley told reporters. – AFP
LIVE UPDATE:11:30 AM – 22 people injured
London tube explosion: District line device was homemade bomb, say police
An explosion that injured a number of people at Parsons Green underground station in west London was a terrorist incident, the Met police have said.
Commuters on a tube train reported hearing a bang and seeing a fireball flying down the carriage during Friday morning rush-hour. Pictures and video, purporting to be from the train carriage, were posted of flames coming out of a carrier bag containing a white bucket.
Police later confirmed the blast came from an improvised explosive device.
NHS England said 22 people were receiving treatment at three hospitals as well as an urgent care centre in Parsons Green.
None was thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition.
Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Mark Rowley, the assistant Met police commissioner, said: “We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device.” He said most of those injured were believed to have suffered flash burns.
Rowley said the investigation was being led by the Met’s counter-terrorism command and involved hundreds of detectives with support from MI5. He said there would be an enhanced police presence in the wake of the attack, particularly in the capital and on public transport.
Rowley refused to say whether there anyone was being held in custody in connection with the incident.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told LBC radio: “There is a manhunt under way as we speak.” He said he was not allowed to say whether that meant a specific suspect was being sought.
Earlier, Khan said said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life”. He urged Londoners to “remain calm and vigilant”.
Downing Street said the prime minister, Theresa May, would be chairing a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergencies committee on Friday morning and was receiving regular updates.
May said: “My 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.”
A Transport for London spokeswoman said the District line had been suspended between Earl’s Court and Wimbledon.
— Emma (@EmmaStevie1) 15 September 2017
Rory Rigney said he had just got on the tube train when the explosion happened only a few feet away sending “a big flash of light” down the carriage. “It sounded like a smash then I heard a scream and thought ‘it’s someone having a fight’. Then I saw the fireball coming towards me – yellow or orange. My face still feels warm. I wasn’t hanging around to get a better look at it,” he said.
He added: “It smelled like a fire extinguisher and there was this foam on the floor. It looked like foam from a fire extinguisher.” He described seeing red wires coming out of a bucket in a Lidl plastic bag.
The 37-year-old from Dublin said he saw one woman who “looked like she had been burnt – they were pouring water on her face – and an older couple who weren’t as bad”.
He said there was pandemonium as people fled. “There were so many people trying to get out they were falling on top of each other, so there was a bit of a crush at the door,” he said. “People were just panicking, getting away and there was a lot of screaming.”
About five minutes after leaving the tube train, Rigby said they were told to exit the platform and saw armed police arriving.
Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall, 53, was sitting on the District line train bound for central London at about 8.20am when he said there was panic around him.
“Suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming,” he said. “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 added: “I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets. Some people got pushed over and trampled on. I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews.”
Witnesses said that children on their way to school were among the injured.
A reporter from London’s Metro newspaper said he had seen people with facial burns. The BBC’s Sophie Raworth said she had seen two ambulances leaving the scene and several people treated, including a woman with burns.
Five Metropolitan police vans arrived on the scene at about 9.40am along with a BTP command van. A 100-metre cordon was erected around the station.
The incident is the fourth terrorist attack in the UK this year, following incidents at Westminster, London Bridge, Manchester and Finsbury Park in north London. The UK terrorism threat level remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.
The US president, Donald Trump, said the attack was carried out by a “loser terrorist” and implied that British police had allowed the culprit to slip through the net. “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” he tweeted. The Met refused to respond to Trump’s comments.
— Alex Littlefield (@A_Littlefield) 15 September 2017