7/7 blast survivors recount leg horrors

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A survivor of the 7 July suicide bomb attacks has described trying to stand up to help fellow Tube passengers only to find his leg had been blown off.

Andrew Brown told an inquest he noticed his "leg had gone" after blacking out for 15 minutes on a Circle Line train at Aldgate station in 2005.

Another passenger - Martine Wiltshire - told how she lost both her legs and three-quarters of her blood.

The inquests into the 52 deaths are expected to take up to five months.

Mr Brown was standing near to suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer when his device exploded killing seven people, the inquest heard.

He was working at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool at the time, and had travelled to London for a meeting in Westminster.

'Loud heavy thud'

He said he saw a very distinct yellow flash and heard a loud heavy thud, to awake 15 minutes later lying on a window frame halfway out of the carriage.

At first he thought he had been electrocuted as he was unable to move, he told the inquest.

"As soon as I was conscious, I became aware of people moaning and calling for help," he said.

"At the time I wasn't feeling any pain. I felt as if I was fine and I tried to stand up to help them and at that point I just fell forward into the debris.

"I managed to regain my seat and lifted my right leg to find out why I had fallen over, and my leg had gone."

Ms Wiltshire, 38 - who hopes to compete in the 2012 Paralympics in London - was just 6ft from the bomber when the device went off.

Life-saving action

"I recall a white light in front of my eyes and a feeling of being thrown from side to side, but I don't remember a loud bang or anything like that," she said.

"Everything was black, everything just looked very dark."

She told the inquest she owed her life to off-duty police officer Elizabeth Kenworthy who gave her a belt to apply as a tourniquet to her left leg to stem the bleeding.

The inquest later heard from Bruce Lait, a professional dancer from Ipswich, who was sitting with his dance partner Crystal Main further along the carriage from the bomber.

He described the aftermath of the blast which had knocked him unconsciousness as he read the Metro newspaper.

As the dust settled, he became aware in the gloom of a woman lying across his lap, he told the inquest. This is believed to be one of the 52 victims, Fiona Stevenson.

Another woman lying next to Ms Main is believed to have been another of those killed, Carrie Taylor.

Mr Lait recalled seeing Ms Stevenson's horrific injuries which so shocked him that he tried to look away. But he realised that she was still alive because her body was moving ever so slightly.

"I don't recall if her eyes were open or not," he said. "I remember trying to talk to her, I held her hand, I tried to comfort her, I was not aware if she was conscious or not."

Mr Lait said he felt her respond to his touch and that she eventually squeezed his hand.

"That said to me that she knew there's somebody there," he told the inquest. "I almost felt her completely relax, disappear. I almost felt her go, but I held her hand right the way through."

Mr Lait suffered minor burns, cuts and burst eardrums and remains partially deaf, but he and his dance partner were among the few survivors to walk away from the scene relatively unaided.

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