MSNBC is asking those in London to send in their eyewitness accounts to the incidents on July 21.
‘We heard screaming’
I was on the Warren Street tube, heading north on the Victoria line, when the tube driver made an unclear announcement. I only heard the word "emergency." Most passengers in my car similarly didn't make out what the driver said, so we all remained seated and calm. About 10 seconds after the announcement, the tube arrived at Warren Street station, and as soon as the tube doors opened, we heard screaming from the front end of the train. The passengers were panicking and running in a mob along the platform towards the back of the train, then through the passageway to the southbound platform and up the escalator.
As the mob of front-end passengers initially rushed past me, I heard a young girl say "I saw him," while others, many of them young kids, were still panicking and screaming. One, I remember, had buried her head in her friend's arms and wouldn't look upwards. We then heard overhead announcements to the entire station to evacuate. Most remaining passengers had remained on the carriage and didn't leave until this further announcement was made. As we filed out, we all assumed it was a hyper-sensitive false alarm. Even as we reached the top of the escalator and left the station, we didn't see police or anything abnormal. Passersby calmly walked down the sidewalk. I went to my nearby college, and only realized after several minutes that it wasn't an empty threat, as I heard more and more sirens and a helicopter overhead.
Just last week, my neighborhood tube station, Hampstead, was evacuated in a security scare as I was just leaving the station. In this case, everyone remained totally calm and made their way out without panic. Even in today’s Warren Street evacuation, most passengers seemed to quietly file out, except for those who were in contact with the smoke or “device.” That was the difference between the two security scares: I saw genuine terror on the faces of those in the front of the tube today. After hearing the sirens and seeing the police gather around the area, I realized afterwards that it must not have been a false alarm; that there must have been a “real” cause for that emotional reaction.
I also saw posters in the tube station last week claiming “30 bags have been left unattended this week,” (at least I’m remembering it to claim ‘30’ but I could be remembering the number wrong) so apparently this has caused unnecessary scares and evacuations.
I personally am feeling more apprehensive now than when the event occurred. Retrospect, and emerging news reports, have suggested the event’s reality and seriousness to me. As I mentioned before, when we left the tube station, life outside was entirely normal. People were briskly passing by, getting to lunch or work. I had emerged from that station countless times before, as my college is nearby, and coming up from the station again today had that same familiar feel, apart from the fact that we passengers were talking amongst ourselves on the escalator, wondering what the cause of evacuation was. No police were yet at the scene, and we passengers just made our way into the street and on with our journeys, joining the sidewalk passersby.
--Kim Howey, Las Vegas, Nev. (PhD student in London)
‘Tired of commotion’
I am currently a student at the IES (International Exchange of Students) center located in Central London. Our central line to and from class, the Picadilly line, has been suspended since the attacks on July 7th, as well as our frequented Circle line. We were on our way to class this morning during the attacks. We found that both lines on which the dummy bombs were on had been closed, we extended our trip about 45 minutes longer than necessary to arrive at our destination.
We were not alerted whatsoever in the Tube stations, except for notifying us of the termination of the Northern and Victoria lines. From conversing with people from home, the 30 students and I realized that the BBC was not giving London as much information as American news broadcast were relaying, which seemed surprising. We were instructed to stay indoors, and were not allowed to leave our school building for 4 hours. We have just returned home. Everyone is just tired of commotion, especially after the July 7th incidents. I am from New York, and although unfortunately I am "used" to such events, it does not make them any less scary, stressful, or shocking.
--Christina Longo, Blauvelt, N.Y./London
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