DESPERATE 7/7 rescue workers were forced to take clothing from the dead to create makeshift stretchers for wounded passengers.
The grim scenario was revealed yesterday at the inquest into the 52 victims of four West Yorkshire suicide bombers.
Many of those caught in the King’s Cross blast – caused by former Huddersfield student Jermaine Lindsay – were found among piles of bodies and with such severe injuries they had to be carried from the bombed tube train.
But a lack of equipment meant medical staff had to use anything they could find, including coats and jackets belonging to the dead, to lift people from the carriage.
Chief Insp Glenn McMunn, of British Transport Police, told how he came across Gill Hicks, one of the most celebrated survivors of the July 7 atrocity.
Miss Hicks, 42, from Australia but who was living in Islington, north London, in 2005, lost both her legs when Lindsay, 19, blew himself up between King’s Cross and Russell Square.
Recalling the difficulties which arose when they tried to move her from the train, Chief Inspector McMunn said: “Unfortunately we didn’t have access to stretchers at that time so we had to use coats of deceased persons which were available in the carriage.
“We used these as sling-type things to place under Gill and other people because that is the only means we could remove people from the carriage.”
The officer, who was at the time an inspector with 25 years’ experience, added: “It was very difficult and it was, yes, upsetting actually to take, you know, clothing away from deceased people as well.”
Earlier he told the hearing that he had rushed into the tunnel soon after arriving at the tube station.
The inquest, at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London, heard that once down there, he battled to save New Zealander Shelley Mather, 26.
But the rescue efforts failed and she was declared dead after being removed from the carriage.
Commending his work, coroner Lady Justice Hallett said: “Thank you very much for coming to assist me in giving evidence Chief Inspector.
“Plainly you personally didn’t waste any time in getting down to try and help the injured passengers.
“I can imagine how distressing it must be to know that, despite your valiant efforts, Shelley Mather died, but you did everything possible that you could.”
Lindsay and three other men, including Mohammad Siddique Khan, of Dewsbury, targeted three Underground trains and a double-deck bus.