7/7 paramedic describes wait before being sent to help

image captionThe Tube bombing between King's Cross and Russell Square was the most deadly of the attacks

Paramedics watched the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings on television for over an hour before being sent to help, the inquests into the deaths have heard.

Paramedic Rachel Harris described four north London crews watching events, and asked: "Why were we forgotten?"

The inquest also heard a victim of the Russell Square blast describe applying her own tourniquet. The coroner praised her "remarkable presence of mind".

Germaine Lindsay killed 26 people with a bomb on London's Piccadilly Line.

His suicide attack, on a southbound underground train between King's Cross and Russell Square, was the most deadly of four co-ordinated attacks on the capital's transport network on 7 July 2005 that killed 52 people.

Ms Harris, a London Ambulance Service worker based in north London, said: "We watched it on TV at Camden for over an hour.

"We cover King's Cross, West End and Paddington regularly.

"At least four Camden crews sat on station watching it on TV... why were we forgotten?"

Paramedic Bill Kilminster was one of the first rescue workers to arrive at King's Cross at about 0930 BST - 40 minutes or so after the explosion.

Carrying out a sweep of the train, he found injured Susan Harrison lying on top of New Zealander Shelley Mather, 26, who later died from her injuries.

Another woman lay moving slightly among a pile of bodies, he told the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London.

'Ignored fears'

Mr Kilminster described hearing a rumble in the tunnel as he and his colleagues worked - thought to be the Tavistock Square bus bombing.

But brave rescue workers ignored fears for their own safety and concerns of a secondary device in the Piccadilly Line tunnel to continue to help victims, he said.

Mr Kilminster was later awarded an MBE for his efforts.

Coroner Lady Justice Hallett said: "I have no doubt that your calmness belies not only the horror of what you saw but also the effect upon you.

"You displayed a high degree of professionalism and you carried on displaying it even when you realised there might have been another bomb, so thank you very much for all that you did."

Ch Insp Glenn McMunn, of British Transport Police, told the inquest how rescue workers removed coats and jackets from dead passengers for use as makeshift stretchers to carry away survivors.

"Unfortunately we didn't have access to stretchers at that time so we had to use coats of deceased persons which were available in the carriage," he said.

The officer, who had 25 years' experience at the time of the attacks, added that it was "very difficult" and "upsetting" to take clothing from the dead.

'Great comfort'

Ms Harrison, an anaesthetist's assistant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, spent two weeks in intensive care and lost part of her leg after the Tube bombing.

Giving evidence by video link, she described making her own tourniquet using the belt from her cardigan.

"I just happened to look down and saw my injuries on my left leg and my experience told me that I would require an amputation. Therefore I decided to tourniquet my leg at that point."

She later heard paramedics discussing whether to remove the tourniquet, she said, and told them: "'Don't take it off, I'll die,' or something like that."

Her testimony also described how she and Ms Mather comforted each other while they waited for help, and that neither were in pain.

"I said to her that, 'I believe someone will come. We will be fine, someone will come and save us,' and we just held hands."

Lady Justice Hallett praised Ms Harrison's "remarkable presence of mind and courage".

She told her: "I'm sure that what you have been able to tell us will also be of great comfort to Shelley Mather's parents and family, knowing that she wasn't in pain and that you tried to comfort her, so thank you very much indeed."

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