An explosion inside a full London subway car Friday wounded more than 20 people in what authorities quickly branded a terror attack.
Witnesses said they heard a loud bang after 8 a.m. local time that was followed by a gush of fire on the train at the Parsons Green station in southwest London, according to local reports.
More than 250 people were evacuated from the train, London’s fire department told the Guardian.
The National Health Service said it’s treating 22 people across four London hospitals. Eight patients treated at a central London hospital were later released, the facility said.
The London Ambulance Service, called to the scene at 8:20 a.m. local time, took 19 people to the hospital. None of the wounds were considered life threatening, the service added in a tweet.
Many victims appeared to have “flash burns,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters.
Emergency services responder to the scene following reports of a blast on a London Underground train at Parsons Green subway station in West London on September 15, 2017.
(@ASolopovas/Twitter via Reuters)
The department’s counter terrorism unit took over the investigation Friday morning, he added, and coordinating with British intelligence. No arrests have been made, police added, as teams scan surveillance footage for clues.
Residents were later evacuated within a 160-foot radius so crews could remove the bomb’s remnants, police said.
Police sources told the Guardian they don’t believe the improvised explosive device fully detonated aboard the subway, known as the Tube.
But the blast did cause a number of injuries and sparked panic aboard the subway, known as the Tube.
Terror attack on the London tube
Rory Rigney had just gotten on the subway car where the blast went off when he say a “big flash of light,” he told the Guardian, followed by the “yellow or orange” fireball.
Rigney, 37, said he saw red wires coming out of the bucket, which was wrapped in a plastic bag from the Lidl grocery store.
“It smelled like a fire extinguisher and there was this foam on the floor,” Rigney said. “It looked like foam from a fire extinguisher.”
Passengers immediately rushed out of the train and on to the platform.
Pictures from the District Line train appear to show a burning plastic bucket stashed in a plastic bag.
“It was panic stations — my initial thought was that the whole train would blow up,” witness Peter Crowley, whose head was burn in the fire, told the Telegraph. “I saw passengers with facial burns, they had been exposed to a very, very hot fire for a nano second, it was lucky doors were open because everyone just got off the Tube.”
Survivors — including school-bound children also reportedly wounded — started pouring into the street.
“People weren’t even running, they were literally crawling over one another and just fleeing I guess,” commuter Aaron Butterfield told BBC News.
Police will be deployed throughout London’s mass transit throughout the day, Rowley told reporters shortly before noon local time Friday.
An injured woman is led away by a first responder.
“Londoners can expect to see an enhanced police presence, particularly across the transport system across today,” he said.
London’s terror threat has remained “severe” since a string of terror attacks throughout Great Britain since March.
British Prime Minister Theresa May decided not to upgrade the terror threat after Friday’s attack.
“The public should go about their daily lives but remain vigilant,” she said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for calm amid the latest security scare.
“As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidate or defeated by terrorism,” he said in a statement.
President Trump weighed in on the attack in four tweets, saying it was carried out “by a loser terrorist” and brought up his travel ban. The remarks were panned by May as well as Scotland Yard.
The commander-in-chief later called the blast a “terrible thing” and said he planned to speak with May.
Gov. Cuomo condemned the attack, adding state law enforcement would have an increased presence throughout New York’s transit system as well as airports, bridges and tunnels.
“The safety and security of New Yorkers is our number one priority, and we remain in close contact with local and federal officials,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We remain vigilant, and we stand with the people of London.”
Armed police officers inspected the subway’s cars after the blast.