Ipswich bomb victim speaks of horror

TODAY top ballroom dancer Bruce Lait knows it is a miracle he survived the London bomb blast after an explosion ripped apart the tube carriage he was travelling in.

TODAY top ballroom dancer Bruce Lait knows it is a miracle he survived the London bomb blast after an explosion ripped apart the tube carriage he was travelling in.

Had it not been for the injured woman who later died on top of him, Mr Lait from Sproughton Road, Ipswich knows he may not be here today to tell his story.

Now his main thought is to contact the family of the dead woman to let them know she did not suffer.

Mr Lait said: "I would love to find out who she was so I can tell her family she didn't suffer. Although she was alive when she was first on top of me, she was not conscious."

He added: "He said: "I certainly believe that if the two ladies on top of me and Crystal had not been there, we would have been dead by now.

"I hate to think that I am alive because somebody else is dead. They were basically shielding us from the blast – that's the only reason we are alive."

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The 32-year-old, together with 23-year-old Claydon dance partner Crystal Main, had been on the Circle line tube train near Liverpool Street station when the explosion tore through the carriage.

On Saturday Crystal told the Evening Star of her horrific story and her miraculous escape.

Since the blast the pair have been thrust into the spotlight, with national papers and TV showing pictures of Mr Lait meeting the Queen who visited his hospital bedside.

Mr Lait and Miss Main had been travelling to the capital all week to rehearse for the show Strictly Ballroom Dancing, which opens in September.

The pair were ranked top in the country in Ten Dance (a combination of Latin and ballroom dances) and fifth overall in both Latin and ballroom dancing.

But this may now change after the terrorist attacks left them unable to compete in the UK Closed Championships in Bournemouth on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Lait, speaking from his parents' home in Bramford Road, Bramford, said he and Miss Main were sitting not more than around six feet from the site of the blast in the centre of the carriage.

He said: "I just remember looking at a newspaper and then, all of a sudden, blackness."

Mr Lait said there was a massive sound, almost like a power generator being switched on, but a million times louder.

He said: "That knocked me out cold. I remember thinking, while I was knocked out, that something was wrong here.

"I was physically aware that I was lying back. I remember thinking I could be dead. I just had to concentrate that I was not dead, because my brain was obviously having thoughts. I kept saying to myself, 'Wake up, Bruce.' The carriage was dark, but there were lights coming in from both sides.

"My first thought was, "How is Crystal?" When I turned from one side, I could see her in hysterics. I asked if she could move her toes – to check if she still had legs.

"There was somebody lying on top of her, who was still alive. I don't know if she made it, but I think it's unlikely."

After they were both freed, the pair walked along the track, emerging at Aldgate station. They were taken to The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel.

Mr Lait escaped with a hole in his left eardrum, lacerations to his face and damage to his hearing.

He returned to Suffolk late on Friday and is staying with his parents at the moment.

He said: "It feels good to be home. All I want to do is see my friends and family. I keep having flashbacks and find it difficult to sleep. Crystal does too."

Mr Lait said what he saw in the train would stay with them forever.

Of the 20 or 30 people on the carriage, Mr Lait said he expected only around five or six to have survived.

He added: "I have no thoughts for the people who did this whatsoever. I don't think they are worthy of any comments or any efforts.

"I don't think there is any point they are trying to get across and if there is, this is totally irrelevant to the cause they're supposedly trying to achieve. It's just stupid and pointless."

Mr Lait and Miss Main are determined to carry on dancing, but Mr Lait is unsure whether he will be braving the tube again.

He said: "It makes you realise that you want to take all the opportunities you get in life. You only have one life and it's so precious. What we do now will always mean so much more to us because we are still alive."

Were you or anyone you know on any of the trains or bus targeted in Thursday's terrorist outrage? Telephone The Evening Star's newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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