A subway train derailed in London during morning rush hour Thursday, injuring 37 commuters, officials said.
About 900 passengers — many covered in dust — were evacuated after the westbound Central Line train derailed between the Bethnal Green and Mile End stations in east London, police said. Police said the accident was not related to terrorism.
Paramedics treated 37 people at the scene for mostly minor injuries. Eleven of them were hospitalized.
The cause of the accident was under investigation. The driver said he saw something white flapping in the tunnel, possibly some sort of sheeting, before the train collided with it, London’s transport department said in a statement.
There was a loud noise and the driver hit the brakes, coming to a stop about 800 feet from an obstruction and the two front sets of wheels derailed, the statement said.
“It started to rock unbelievably, really violently, the carriage filled with smoke and we could see sparks and there was a smell of electrical burning as the driver was braking,” said passenger Jacqui McElroy, a 34-year-old makeup artist.
Union officials said that subway workers had repeatedly raised safety concerns that contractors working in the area where the derailment occurred were not properly storing equipment.
Londoners are on edge less than a week after three failed bomb attacks in the country — two in the capital and one at Glasgow’s airport in Scotland. British authorities are also on high alert before the second anniversary of the London suicide bombings that killed 52 people on July 7, 2005.