A POLICE inspector yesterday described his frustration at the refusal of firefighters to go into a tunnel and rescue passengers from the bombed Aldgate Tube train in 2005.
Detailing a litany of problems in the aftermath of the July 7 attacks, Inspector Robert Munn, of the British Transport Police, said that the firefighters refused to walk towards the Circle Line train in case the power was still on.
He told the inquests on the bomb victims: “I said, ‘It’s this way, boys, do you want to come and join us? I stood on the third rail and said to them, ‘The power’s off’, and they said, ‘We have to have it confirmed by London Underground staff’.”
As the latest witness to highlight the chaos of the scene where seven people died as a result of Shehzad Tanweer’s bomb, Inspector Munn said that communication to the control room was poor.
Arriving at the scene almost 20 minutes after the bomb, he immediately declared a major incident before going down into the tunnel.
His radio did not work in the tunnel so he was forced to run between the bombed train and the platform to relay messages calling for paramedics and reinforcements.
At 9.17am, almost half an hour after the blast, he radioed the BTP control room to say that there was evidence of a bomb, as he had earlier been led to believe that the explosion was caused by a power failure.
However, when he radioed again, 15 minutes later, his message had not been passed on.
He became angry at a female passenger who refused to stop taking photographs of the bombed carriage, who was causing “agitation” among other survivors. When she ignored his request to stop, he snatched her camera and threw it to the ground.
Inspector Munn said that there was a “severe shortage” of medical supplies, including stretchers, as well as a shortage of emergency response staff.
“Words cannot really describe the noise, the smell, the general sense of confusion down there.”
The coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, sitting without a jury, praised police officers for their bravery. The hearing continues.