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Witnesses describe crash horror

LONDON, England -- Witnesses have been describing the scene after a train derailed and hit a railway station north of London, killing several people and injuring dozens more.

One woman who witnessed the crash told CNN, "I can see a massive mess everywhere. The train is underneath the platform. One man jumped out covered in blood. I was in an alleyway running alongside the platform. It's chaos."

CNN's Graham Jones said the scene was one of "complete devastation. ... It's a modern station, but much of it has been destroyed." (Full story)

Retired educational welfare officer Pat Matthews, 71, told CNN he had been driving under the bridge when parts of it began falling on his Ford Mondeo and his brother-in-law's car, which was following behind.

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"I did not see much, but I heard a lot," he added. "I was driving under the bridge when suddenly there was an enormous crash and debris and railing crashed onto the car smashing the rear window.

"I wondered what on earth had happened. I got out of the car. My brother-in-law's face was covered in blood. His car was a complete write-off."

His brother-in-law, Ron Tarling, 70, an ex-British Airways worker, told CNN he had been "showered by glass. ... I am still pulling out glass from my clothes while blood gushed from my head."

Witness Andy Edwards, a taxi driver, told Sky News it looked as though the train went into the platform after hitting the bridge.

"It looks like there is damage to the bridge and some of the bridge has fallen on to the road. Everyone's absolutely astonished. We've never seen anything like this here before," he said.

Eyewitness Sam Irving told BBC News 24: "There were people lying on the track and various members of the public were comforting them. Some had terrible wounds. People kept calm, there were no screams. All the local shops brought water and blankets.

"I saw at least two people who were dead. There was a lady who had blood pouring from her neck."

Hairdresser Natasha Ellingham told BBC News 24: "When I ran down there (to the bridge) there was a man lying on the floor and people were trying to help him. I think he was a pedestrian because he was walking underneath. The fencing (of the bridge) was damaged because it had fallen down and had hit the cars.

"People were running up to platform, they were pulling people out of the train, it was horrendous, horrible. They were smashing the window trying to pull people out. Someone was walking up the platform to see if people had fallen out of the train."

Jeremy Birchell, 28, saw the crash from his office opposite Potters Bar station and then felt the impact as a huge cloud of smoke was sent flying towards him. He told the UK Press Association: "The train was absolutely hoofing along and some part of it must have been off the rails already because it knocked away parts of the bridge.

"It sent out a 50-foot or 60-foot cloud of smoke towards the office. ... The platform tapers off towards the end and that acted as a ramp. I could see the last carriage across the platform and after a few minutes we could see people starting to find a way off.

"There were people in suits with their hands on their heads. We could see a person stuck under concrete, she was under there for about 40 minutes and I'm afraid she looked absolutely limp.

"I also saw a couple of young ladies injured by debris from the bridge and there was one gentleman in his suit walking down the tracks with a head wound -- he was still carrying his briefcase."

A member of staff at nearby Sainsbury's grocery, which was being used as a makeshift treatment room, said: "Our first-aiders were first on the scene. Someone came rushing in and told us what had happened and anyone who knew what to do went rushing over. You can see the train from the store and we've got wounded people in the store now."

Witness Nicholas Anastasiou told Sky News he heard a "big bang and that was it."

"One carriage is very badly damaged indeed. In the car park there are bits of the train everywhere. People are quite badly hurt. There are loads of hurt people here. There are people running around trying to help people but I don't think they can do much because it's quite bad. All I can see is the last carriage."




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