Injured dancer is delighted to be home

A DANCER from East Anglia who had a lucky escape when his tube train was blown apart in the terrorist attacks has returned home to recover from his terrifying ordeal.

A DANCER from East Anglia who had a lucky escape when his tube train was blown apart in the terrorist attacks has returned home to recover from his terrifying ordeal.

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

Knocked out by the blast Mr Lait, 32, escaped from the disaster with just a perforated eardrum and facial lacerations but had to be treated in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel for his injuries.

During his stay in hospital, he met the Queen, who paid a special visit to his ward to see those injured in the bombings.

Mr Lait said: "It feels great to be home. To be honest, I just feel so fortunate to be alive after all Crystal and I have been through."

He said the scars on his face were healing "fairly quickly." But he added: "The scarring is not the thing that bothers me – it's our memories and the things we saw on that train that will be hard to get over, the mental scarring side of things.

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"I will have to travel to London for my job but I would find it extremely hard to get back on the tube again.

"I think I would like to try to combat it but I don't think I will be able to in the forseeable future."

He said he had been moved by the messages of support – particularly after he was seen on television being visited by the Queen.

"So many people have phoned to see how I am, people from all over the world and some of the top people in my profession. I have been very touched by it all."

Mr Lait added: "I'm going to take it easy for a little while but I hope to be fit for a touring show we are doing at the end of August, and maybe do some teaching before then. Because of my hearing, it's not safe to me to drive yet and that's the main thing – I want to get driving again."

Mr Lait, who, along with his parents, is a partner in the Lait Dance Club, Clarkson Street, Ipswich, was sitting beside Miss Main, 23, when they were caught up in the explosion between Liverpool Street and Aldgate East tube stations.

The pair had been on a Circle line tube train on their way to a rehearsal for a forthcoming show when their carriage was destroyed by the blast about a minute into their journey.

Miss Main, who lives in Claydon, believes the bomb blast would have killed her had other passengers not shielded her from its lethal impact.

She said: "As soon as we got on there were some spare seats. I sat next to the double doors where the glass panel was. Bruce was beside me on the left. A lady was standing in the middle of the carriage holding the pole and two older ladies were opposite me. I was really tired. I glanced over and Bruce had picked up a paper. I closed my eyes and put head against the glass. I had my eyes closed for about 20 seconds and all of a sudden I felt as if I have having a fit and couldn't control myself. I slipped to the side. It was as if I had been electrocuted and thousands of volts were going through me.

"I pulled myself up to sit straight on the seat. My face was really sore. I slowly opened my eyes and it was dusty and foggy and black. To start with I couldn't hear anything, I couldn't see anything. I must have been screaming 'help me, help me'. I couldn't see much, just shapes in the carriage. The carriages in front and behind had lights.

"There was just blood everywhere. I looked around and there was a lady laying on top of Bruce and against the top of my shoulder. The lady that was standing in the middle of the carriage had her feet next to mine and was laying over my lap and down where the glass panel was originally.

"Me and Bruce spoke to each other and said 'are you ok, are you ok?' and we said 'yes', There was metal and pieces of muck everywhere. We couldn't make out what was what. Directly in front of me was a big hole. The lady next to me was gasping and gulping a little bit."

Miss Main said the woman's face was covered in blood and badly burnt. After a few minutes she fell silent and died, slumped between Mr Lait and Miss Main. The other woman laying over Miss Main had broken both arms and other smashed bones.

"Everyone was shouting and screaming for help. It seemed ages for anyone to come, probably about half-an-hour. The paramedics and everyone came. They took about ten minutes to assess the situation.

"There was a lady who came to help the girl who was over my knee. There was a man on the floor to the right. He looked quite bad. He was trying to move around slightly.

When the paramedics got there, I was one of the last ones left. There were metal rods wrapped all around us. I remember Bruce saying there was bits of people beside him. I'm so glad I was not sitting there.

"They took the lady off Bruce. They laid her to the side, checked her pulse and there was nothing there. Bruce got out fine and met me outside afterwards. Then they removed this other lady by stretcher. I got helped out afterwards.

"When I got out I was not too bad. The emergency people helped me out. My hair was completely black, singed and like an afro with bits of metal, skin and newspaper in it. My face was completely black. My hands were black and covered with blood all round my nails. I couldn't walk very well, but they were helping me along. I got outside and all of a sudden I felt as if I was losing consciousness and they gave me some sort of gas and from then on I don't remember getting into the ambulance. I don't remember the journey to hospital or getting into the hospital.

"My chest was feeling tight and I could hardly breathe. I was getting injections and tablets left, right and centre because of smoke inhalation I think."

Miss Main was treated in Whitechapel hospital for cuts and bruises, smoke inhalation and loss of hearing.

She is still having problems with her hearing and has been told her ears will hopefully fully recover in four weeks. She was allowed to leave hospital around 4pm on Thursday and is recuperating at her boyfriend Leon Yelland's home in Cheltenham Avenue, Ipswich.

Miss Main said: "It was horrific. It was like my worst nightmare. Every time I close my eyes I can just see everything. I can still hear the train in my ears. I just can't believe I have walked away breathing. I have not really had a cry. I have just had some tears. It's the most traumatic experience I am ever going to have in my life. I was just so scared. If I had sat anywhere else or stood up I don't think I would be here today. I can't believe how lucky I am to walk away breathing. When everyone fell on top of me they shielded me from the blast."

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