IMAGE: Warren Street station
Lefteris Pitarakis  /  AP
London Underground staff and police officers stand outside Warren Street station in central London on Thursday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 7/21/2005 11:40:40 AM ET 2005-07-21T15:40:40

Staff at a central London hospital were told Thursday to look out for an Asian or black man with wires protruding from his shirt after witnesses reported seeing someone of that description fleeing an Underground station hit by a small blast, British TV reports said.

In a memo to staff at University College hospital, officers asked employees to look for a black or Asian male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, wearing a blue top with a hole in the back and wires protruding from it, Sky News reported.

The British Broadcasting Corp. broadcast a similar report. The hospital, which is near Warren Street station in central London, could not be reached for immediate comment.

Earlier, armed police rushed into the hospital, witnesses reported.

Eyewitnesses to two of the four explosions to hit this city's transportation system told of close calls with what could have been would-be bombers running away after dropping backpacks on subway trains.

“We all got off on the platform and the guy just ran and started running up the escalator,” one witness who gave her name as Andrea told the British Broadcasting Corp.

“Everyone was screaming for someone to stop him. He ran past me ... and he ran out of the station. In fact he left a bag on the train,” she said of the incident at Warren Street station in central London.

Another witness told Sky News that passengers tried to prevent the man from running away, but failed.

Sky News also reported witnesses seeing a man dump a backpack in a subway car at Oval station, south London, before fleeing as the doors closed.

Witness Ivan McCracken told Sky he smelled smoke and that panicked people rushed into his carriage.

“People were panicking. But very fortunately the train was only 15 seconds from the station,” McCracken told Sky News.

Hauntingly similar
Thursday’s incidents were hauntingly similar to the blasts two weeks ago, which involved explosions at three Underground stations simultaneously — quickly followed by a blast on a bus. Those bombings, during the morning rush hour, also occurred in the center of London, hitting the Underground railway from various directions.

Thursday’s incidents, however, were more geographically spread out.

London Ambulance said it was called to the Oval station at 12:38 p.m. and Warren Street at 12:45 p.m. Explosions also went off at Shepherds Bush station in west London and on the No. 26 bus heading toward Hackney, east London. The July 7 attacks, which mostly occurred in central London, began at 8:51 a.m.

Closed-circuit TV cameras on Hackney Road showed the bus immobilized at a stop with its signal lights flashing. The area around the bus had been cordoned off.

A blast blew out the windows of the bus, but there were no reported injuries.

“The bus driver heard a bang at the back of the bus. He thought it was probably a vehicle that had hit him,” an unnamed police officer told Reuters.

“He stopped at a nearby bus stop and saw a suspect package at the back of the bus,” the officer said.

Services on four Underground lines were suspended following the incidents, London Underground said.

“I was in the carriage and we smelled smoke — it was like something was burning,” said Losiane Mohellavi, 35, who was evacuated at Warren Street.

“Everyone was panicked and people were screaming. We had to pull the alarm. I am still shaking,” Mohellavi said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,