LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of London police embarked on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour. The explosion wounded 22 people and ignited a panicked stampede to safety.
Witnesses described seeing a “wall of fire” as the bomb — hidden in a plastic bucket inside a supermarket freezer bag — went off about 8:20 a.m. while the train was at the Parsons Green station in southwest London.
It was not a large explosion, and British police and health officials said none of the injured was thought to be seriously hurt. Yet police said it was a terrorist attack, the fifth in Britain this year.
Six hours later, the Metropolitan Police force said there had been no arrests, but hundreds of detectives, aided by intelligence agents, were looking at surveillance camera footage in the subway, carrying out forensic work and speaking to witnesses.
The site of the blast is in a leafy, affluent part of the city, not near any of London’s top tourist sites. British media reported that the bomb included a timer. It’s not clear whether the device was intended to explode when it did.
Police were alerted when commuters reported a noise and a flash aboard the District Line train. Commuter Lauren Hubbard was on the train when she heard a loud bang.
“I looked around and this wall of fire was just coming towards us. You just run,” said Hubbard, who fled the above-ground station with her boyfriend.
Others described “absolute chaos” as hundreds of people rushed to get away from the danger.
“I ended up squashed on the staircase. People were falling over, people fainting, crying, there were little kids clinging onto the back of me,” said Ryan Barnett, 25.