Friday’s terror attack on the Tube at Parsons Green station has left the Australian expat community in London shaken. The station is in an area of west London many Aussie expats call their home away from home.
It came as no surprise then that several Aussies were swept up in Friday’s frightening events when a terrorist planted improvised explosive device went off on a District Line train, injuring at least 29 people.
“We were standing close to the doors of the tube and then I heard some horrible screaming and saw people sprinting down the platform toward the exit,” 24-year-old Lucy Steadman (pictured above, left: Facebook), who is from Brisbane and lives in London, told News.com.au.
Ms Steadman describes how terrified commuters stampeded for the only staircase off the platform at the station.
“At that point I didn’t know what had happened yet and I thought it might be someone with a gun or a knife, so I wasn’t sure if the threat was still there or not,” she said.
“I just had to focus on staying upright because I could see people in front of me falling and getting trampled on.”
Fear soon gave way to charity though.
“When it became clear the immediate threat was gone, we started helping people who had fallen on the stairs,” Ms Steadman said.
Thank you to everyone in the crowd who helped and took leadership amidst the Parsons Green panic. We needed you
— Lucy-Ellen Steadman (@LucySteadman) September 15, 2017
Another Australian woman was making her way to Parsons Green station when the incident occured.
“I saw people start to filter out, escorted by police, they were distraught and crying,” Georgina Anile told Yahoo7 News.
“I then saw a woman being pushed on a stretcher into an ambulance and she was quite badly burnt on her legs, her hairline was quite charred.
“I have only been here for a little over six weeks so not long at all. I came straight here and moved just down the road. This is such a quiet area but people are on alert everywhere you go, I’ve noticed.”
Looks like a failed bomb attempt. Wires coming out of a bucket that exploded? #Parsonsgreen pic.twitter.com/q8U82SGfPb — Steve Quinnell (@bobandweave26) September 15, 2017
When terrorist attacks like these unfold in London, as is sadly so common recently, the fear is almost instantly shared by everyone in the expat community.
“When you see your phone having 15 messages, unfortunately a terror attack is the first thing that goes through your mind,” Will Medcalf, an Aussie teacher who is living in Parsons Green, told Fairfax.
“With the London Aussie expat community being so well connected, you start to run through the list of friends that could be involved,” he said.
“It definitely has you second-guessing yourself a lot more.”
Two Australian expats, Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden, were killed in June’s terror attack at London Bridge.
On Monday, police were questioning two men, aged 18 and 21, arrested on suspicion over the Parsons Green terrorist attack, according to the BBC.
It is understood the two men are Syrian refugees who were at one point in foster care in the UK, according to The Independent.
The UK terror level was lowered on Monday back to ‘severe’ after having been raised to ‘critical’ in the immediate aftermath of the Parsons Green explosion.