Firefighter tells of horror of watching Richard die

LONDON: A firefighter who watched an Ipswich man die in the 7/7 bomb attacks told of his frustration at shortages of first aid equipment which hampered rescue attempts.

The fire crews sent to the Tube train bombing at Aldgate station in London lacked stretchers and ran out of basic medical supplies such as bandages, the inquest for the 52 victims of the attacks heard.

One firefighter recalled how he watched Ipswich shop worker Richard Ellery die before medics reached the devastated carriage.

Neil Walker said he believed Mr Ellery was less in need of help than other seriously injured passengers because the 21-year-old was able to tell him his name.

But Mr Ellery died shortly afterwards while rescuers were waiting for a stretcher to remove him from the train, the inquest heard.

Mr Walker said: “I was pretty shocked about that because I had recently spoken to him. It was quite an awful moment, as you can imagine.”

Suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his device on an eastbound Circle Line train at Aldgate at about 8.50am on July 7, 2005, killing Mr Ellery and six others.

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Mr Walker, who was on duty at Bethnal Green fire station in east London that morning, was among the firefighters who climbed into the wrecked carriage to help the wounded and dying.

The inquest heard he wrote in a London Fire Brigade incident report after the attacks: “I was the first person on the train, tried to attend to the casualties, who were still and quiet, with no first aid or resuscitators. Watched a young man die before help arrived.”

He said he and his colleagues were “very under-equipped”, having only small first aid kits containing a “minimal amount” of bandages, which were used up “very, very quickly”.

The co-ordinated attacks on three Tube trains and a bus by suicide bombers Tanweer, 22, Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Jermaine Lindsay, 19, were the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil.

The hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London continues today.