07/07 War on Britain: 20 BODIES STILL DOWN THERE; Bomb Terror Toll Set to Hit 70

The Mirror (London, England), July 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

07/07 War on Britain: 20 BODIES STILL DOWN THERE; Bomb Terror Toll Set to Hit 70


Byline: By GRAHAM BROUGH and JEFF EDWARDS, Chief Crime Correspondent

RESCUE workers 150ft below ground toiled yesterday in "unimaginable" conditions to reach the dead from the worst of London's three Tube bombs.

Twenty bodies were still in the mangled wreckage of the Piccadilly Line train, in addition to the 21 known to have died.

Thirteen were confirmed dead aboard the blown-up No 30 bus and a total of 16 from the other two Tube blasts. That would put the overall toll at 70.

Relatives of the missing made heart- rending pleas for help. Yvonne Nash, 30, who fears her boyfriend Jamie Gordon, also 30, was on the bus said: "Is he dead? Is he alive? Not knowing is dreadful. I just have to find him."

Police launched Britain's biggest manhunt for the killers - suspected of links to al-Qaeda - who struck four times in 56 minutes on Thursday. Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair vowed: "We will not rest until we find them. We will be relentless."

Film from 2,000 CCTV systems was being seized - but cameras on the bus were not operating.

Sir Ian said the victims came from five countries apart from Britain, and said: "This was an attack not only on London but on human beings from all over the world."

In the Piccadilly tunnel - amid searing heat and with the roofs of tunnel and train shored up to prevent collapse - the battle to retrieve bodies was excruciating.

It was further complicated by the need to avoid disturbing clues to the terrorist blast at 8.56am.

The bomb was by the doors of the first carriage of the rush-hour train, heading from King's Cross to Russell Square with several hundred people aboard.

Some survivors of the black hell that followed took hours to reach daylight - picking their way to the back of the train before edging along the track to King's Cross.

The search for bodies was going on in a tunnel just 10ft 6in wide. A carriage is 8ft 7in wide, leaving a foot of space either side.

Andy Trotter, British Transport Police Deputy Chief Constable, said: "These are extremely difficult conditions.

"There are vermin, there are the remains of people's loved ones, there are the remnants of fumes from the explosion, there is also intolerable heat."

It is not clear how the bomb - which literally made the train burst, jamming it against the tunnel ceiling and walls - was detonated.

Given the depth, a mobile phone signal is thought unlikely.

Meanwhile, the distraught face of Yvonne Nash summed up the despair of those seeking loved ones. Yvonne, an events marketing manager for Orange, said boyfriend Jamie Gordon had phoned work in the City at 9.42am yesterday to say he was on a bus from Euston to King's Cross. That was five minutes before the blast.

He has not been heard from since and has not returned any calls or texts to his mobile.

A trace had placed it in the vicinity of the blast but the line had gone dead at about 3pm. Yvonne said she had logged Jamie's details with the police casualty bureau and had been frantically telephoning hospitals.

Weeping Yvonne, who has lived with Jamie in Enfield, North London, for seven years, said: "He was the life and soul of every party.

"You cannot sleep, cannot eat when you are that worried about somebody." She asked anyone with information to phone 0207 984 2000.

Colleagues of Jamie put up picture-posters at the blast scene, appealing for help.

IT worker Neetu Jain, 38, is also feared dead in the No 30 bomb. She had been evacuated from Euston station and caught a bus. …

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