Parsons Green bombing: I was dazed, says teen caught in blast

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Media caption,

16-year-old Jack Durston: 'I just started crying'

On Friday morning, 16-year-old Jack Durston was on the District Line, heading to his new school in High Street Kensington, listening to music on his noise-cancelling headphones.

What was about to happen on his train, as it drew up to Parsons Green Tube station, no one could have foreseen.

An "improvised explosive device" was detonated on the packed rush hour train, injuring 30 people.

Jack, from Kingston-upon-Thames, told the BBC: "I had moved to the middle of the second carriage to get a seat. Now I realise I was lucky to be further away from the blast.

"I didn't hear the blast but I saw the flames and heard the screaming. It was crazy and very scary.

"Everyone tripped out of the doors. Once we were on the platform there was this horrible chemical smell. It was on my clothes and skin."


His first instinct was to call his mum, Jane, to say he was fine. She told the BBC he sounded distressed, but he assured her he was fine.

He said: "I confused her because the news hadn't broken yet."

At first, Jack thought there had been a gas leak.

"I'd seen a very light flame. Then a man told us all to get off the platform immediately.

"I wasn't caught up in the stampede because I held back on the platform a bit longer."

Image source, Jack Durston
Image caption,
Jack with his parents Jane and Will

"When I got downstairs I was dazed. Staff in the Cote Brasserie [cafe], opposite the station, were brilliant.

"They were treating people's wounds and handing out drinks."

"I was given some water and sat with a nice lady for about an hour.

"Paramedics thought I was in shock and took me to hospital for smoke inhalation. Luckily, after I was checked out, I was told I was okay."

"I had to wait for my dad to come before I could talk to the police. The anti-terror team took my clothes and bagged them up for evidence because they had absorbed particles from the explosion.

Image source, Jack Durston
Image caption,
Emergency services treated people in the cafe opposite the station

"They wrote a six-page witness report from what I was telling them. I eventually went home with my dad."

Will Durston, Jack's father, who had reached the hospital by midday, was relieved to see he wasn't hurt.

He said Jack had the odd scratch from falling over, but that was all. When the police took away his son's clothing he had some help from one of the officers.

Mr Durston said: "It was probably the first time I'd bought Jack clothes since he was a baby.

"Once he was discharged, I deliberately took him home on the Tube so he would be able to make the journey again."

Image source, Jack Durston
Image caption,
The police spoke to Jack at length about what happened on the train

Despite being a little concerned about whether his son should go public with his account, Will Durston told the BBC: "I spoke to my wife about this. We agreed it would be okay. Some say if you externalise it, it helps."

When Jack was asked how he has been coping since Friday, he told the BBC he took the train to see his friends on Sunday:

"I feel mostly fine now. It's just when I'm not doing anything or not speaking to anyone, that's when it affects me."

Interview by Sherie Ryder, BBC UGC and Social News team.