DELAYS in sending ambulances to help those injured in the 7/7 bus bombing were condemned as “totally unacceptable”.
The first paramedic crew arrived at the scene within minutes of the blast, the inquest for the 52 victims of the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks on London heard.
But records show it was nearly an hour after the explosion before more ambulances were dispatched to assist with treating horrifically-wounded survivors. London Ambulance Service (LAS) received detailed calls about the incident within minutes of suicide bomber Hasib Hussain, 18, blowing himself up on a number 30 bus in Tavistock Square at 9.47am.
However, senior LAS managers controlling the operation did not have access to this information in their command room and further ambulances were only sent to Tavistock Square at 10.42am, the inquest was told.
Christopher Coltart, barrister for some of the bereaved families, questioned ambulance operations manager Paul Gibson about the reasons for this hold-up.
He asked: “Are you prepared to accept that the failure of central ambulance control to dispatch any ambulances to the scene for half an hour after it was made aware of the position was totally unacceptable?”
Mr Gibson replied: “I can’t explain the decisions that ambulance control made because I wasn’t there at the time.”
A log shows a St John Ambulance crew arrived at Tavistock Square at 10.37am, before the next LAS ambulance got there at 10.46am. The inquest heard there were a series of other problems with the LAS response to the bus bombing, in which 13 innocent people died.
A member of the public called LAS at 9.48am and said a bus had been blown up outside the British Medical Association in Tavistock Square, adding “lots of people screaming”.
Three minutes later a Metropolitan Police officer rang ambulance control and said 10 people had been injured in the blast.
But the LAS command team had gone into a special “gold suite” used for major incidents, which at the time did not give them access to the system recording these messages.
Hussain was one of four West Yorkshire suicide bombers who targeted the bus and three Underground trains. His accomplices included former Rawthorpe High School student Jermaine Lindsay.