Suffolk policeman relives London bombings horror
FIREFIGHTERS refused to go into a Tube tunnel to rescue victims of the 7/7 attacks even after a Suffolk police inspector stood on the power rail to show it was safe, an inquest heard today.
The firefighters said their safety rules meant they could not go onto the tracks until London Underground staff confirmed the electricity had been turned off.
Inspector Robert Munn, from Ipswich, said the delay lasted only seconds but was “very frustrating” as he struggled to deal with the aftermath of the attack by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer at Aldgate station on July 7 2005.
He also described how he had to grab a camera from a female passenger to stop her taking pictures of the devastated carriage, in which seven people died.
Mr Munn, of British Transport Police, took charge of the emergency evacuation of the Circle Line Tube train, the inquests for the 52 victims of the attacks heard.
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But he kept having to return to the station to send messages back to his control room because his radio did not work in the tunnel.
At one point he went back to the platform and found a group of firefighters standing waiting in full kit.
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Mr Munn told the inquest: “I said, ‘it’s this way boys, do you want to come and join us?’ I tried to get them to come down.
“One of them told me they weren’t allowed on the tracks until the current was confirmed as being discharged.
“At that point I stood on the third rail and said to them, ‘the power’s off’, and they said, ‘we have to have it confirmed by London Underground staff’.
“There was a member of London Underground staff on the platform who I shouted to. I said, ‘is the power off?’ and he confirmed it.
“This seemed to take forever. In reality it was probably a matter of seconds.”
Asked how he felt about this, the policeman said: “I was very frustrated at the time.”
Up to four other firefighters were already working in the bombed carriage by this time, the inquest heard.
Mr Munn agreed it was “correct protocol” for emergency services to check the power was off and praised the work of firefighters at Aldgate that day.
“The delay that I saw, although very frustrating at the time, was a very short period of time that they were actually within my vision,” he said.