London police are responding to “a terrorist incident” at Parsons Green tube station in London, following an explosion on a packed rush-hour commuter train on Friday morning. Several people have been reportedly injured.
The details of the incident weren’t immediately clear, but witnesses described what sounded like an explosion and a burst of flames on a car of a train as it was stopped at the Parsons Green station in West London. They described panic and chaos as passengers rushed to flee across a crowded platform during the morning rush hour.
The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede. “I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me,” a man who was on the train told Reuters.
“We are aware of an incident at #ParsonsGreen tube station. Officers are in attendance,” London police said on Twitter.
Parsons Green subway station in west London was cordoned off as counter-terrorism police investigated, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. A number of people were injured, the Met said, and the Press Association said passengers suffered facial burns and some were hurt in a stampede.
A photo posted on social media showed personal belongings and a white bucket in a supermarket freezer bag with what appeared to be wires coming out of the top on the floor of one train carriage.
A passenger shared images of his singed hair after the incident. “Charred head from the fireball at Parsons Green,” Peter Crowley tweeted.
The London Ambulance Service said it received a call at 8:20 a.m. and sent multiple vehicles to the scene. Emergency services swarmed the area, which was taped off behind a large cordon. Police advised people to stay away from the area.
Outside the station, a woman was sitting on a pavement with a bandage around her leg, while armed police patrolled. A Reuters witness saw a woman being carried off on a stretcher with her legs covered in a foil blanket.
A Reuters witness could see a bomb disposal unit at the scene while the fire brigade said it had sent six engines and 50 firefighters. London Ambulance said it had sent “multiple resources” including its hazardous area response team to the scene. “Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries,” it said.
Transport for London said on Twitter there was no service on the western part of the District Line which runs through Parsons Green.
“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,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said. May will chair a Cabinet Office Briefing Room (Cobra) emergency meeting Friday afternoon, Downing Street said.
“Obviously, everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way, as normal as they possibly can,” Foreign Secretary and former London Mayor Boris Johnson told Sky News. “As far as I understand it, the British Transport Police and TfL are on it and they will be updating their websites as and when we have more information.”
Britain has suffered four attacks blamed on terrorists so far this year which killed 36 people. In 2005, 52 people were killed when four British Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on three London underground trains and a bus.
Live feed from Parson’s Green below