Bombings: Queen comforts victim

By Craig RobinsonA DANCER from East Anglia who had a lucky escape when his tube train was blown apart in the terrorist attacks has been comforted by the Queen as he recovers in hospital.

By Craig Robinson

A DANCER from East Anglia who had a lucky escape when his tube train was blown apart in the terrorist attacks has been comforted by the Queen as he recovers in hospital.

Bruce Lait, of Sproughton Road, Ipswich, was sitting reading a newspaper on a London tube train when an explosion ripped through his carriage.

Knocked out by the blast, Mr Lait found that when he came to, he could not move because he was covered by a body.

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The 32-year-old, who escaped from the disaster with just a perforated eardrum and facial lacerations, had a visit yesterday from the Queen as he recovered at Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel.

The visit was part of a royal tour of the hospital, in which the Queen thanked staff for their work in the rescue operation and chatted to survivors.

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Mr Lait was sitting beside his dance partner, Crystal Main, 23, from Claydon, when they were caught up in the explosion between Liverpool Street and Aldgate East tube stations.

The pair had been on the tube on their way to a rehearsal for a forthcoming show when their carriage was destroyed by the blast, which killed seven people.

They had also been due to compete in the Latin and ballroom sections of the UK Closed Championships in Bournemouth yesterday and today.

Sitting with his parents, Pat and Tom, Mr Lait told the Queen as she stood at his bedside: “I'm very thankful to still be here.”

Describing the blast, Mr Lait told the Queen of the “devastation” and of glass and flying debris, adding: “I cannot believe I got away with just this (his injuries).”

The Queen asked him if he used the Underground a lot and he said: “No. I was just coming down to London to rehearse for a show.” She replied: “Oh, that's cruel, isn't it?”

The Queen said she hoped he would still be able to continue dancing after he came out of hospital.

Mr Lait's mother, Pat, 60, of Bramford Road, Bramford, told the Queen: “We did not know where he was until the evening.”

At this, the Queen said to Mr Lait: “It must have been a great relief when they (his parents) turned up.” He replied: “Yes, I had someone to hug.”

Mr Lait said he had been sitting in his carriage reading a paper beside Miss Main when the bomb exploded. “I took the blast,” he said.

Recalling events, he added: “I was reading a paper and all of a sudden 'boom.' I was knocked out for a bit.

“I thought 'Am I dead?', then I thought 'My brain is still thinking so I cannot be dead'.” Mr Lait said he then thought “Concentrate on waking up”.

As he was led above ground, away from the carnage below, Mr Lait phoned his parents.

Mr Lait's mother said: “He phoned us as they walked out of the station just to say he was alive.”

She added: “We got a quick, two-minute phone call that they were on a train that crashed, that there was an explosion, that Bruce couldn't hear in one ear, but that Crystal was fine. They were both waiting for an ambulance.

“They are really traumatised. He asked me to come and get him by car because he won't go on a train.”

Mrs Lait also called Miss Main's mother in America to let her know her daughter was safe.

The Queen spent 45 minutes at the hospital before returning to Windsor Castle by helicopter.

Speaking from his hospital bed last night, Mr Lait said: “The Queen was lovely - very charming. I just feel so lucky that I'm still alive to talk to her because there was so much devastation.

“One minute I was sitting on the train reading a newspaper the next I heard a huge boom and explosion and I'm not reading the newspaper anymore.

“It took me a while to come around and I didn't realise where I was at first because there was so much black smoke and bits of train and people everywhere.

“My first thoughts were of Crystal, but luckily she was already awake. We both had bodies lying on top of us and I think they probably saved our lives.

“From where I was I counted eight or nine dead. It was extremely gruesome and I can't believe I've got away with the injuries that I have.”

Mr Lait - who, along with his parents, is a partner in the Lait Dance Club, Clarkson Street, Ipswich - said that despite his injuries he was in “good spirits” and hoped to return home last night or early today.

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