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Saturday, April 17, 1999 Published at 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK


UK

'A shower of sparks and flame'

The Brixton street was busy with shoppers

Eyewitnesses have spoken of horrific scenes after an explosion in a busy Brixton shopping street that injured 45 people.

Andrew Scott-Bolton, who lives just 25m from the site of the blast in south London, told the Press Association: "The street must have been absolutely packed at the time.

"My house is 25m away and all the windows got blown out, but a stallholder, who was 15m away from the explosion, told me there were lots of people injured

"My brother was on Atlantic Avenue, the next road down, in his car when it happened and he said he felt the air suck out and saw a shower of sparks and flame come out of Electric Avenue."

'Carnage'

Former Army officer Neall Whatley, 36, was one of the first people on the scene and told how he tried to comfort a young girl with a nail embedded in her cheek.

He knew immediately what the loud explosion meant and dashed from his place of work, Ritzy Cinema.

"It was carnage everywhere. There was one man with severe head, chest and leg injuries and a young child with a nail sticking out of her cheek," he said.

"There was an almighty crump, people were running in all directions.

"Everybody was wondering around, dazed, not knowing what to do. I administered first aid to two people.

"One was a small child and the other was a security guard from Iceland who had severe chest and leg injuries.

"The small child I would say was about seven. She was just very, very shocked."

David Gledhill, editor of the Bath Chronicle, was about 200 yards from Iceland at the time of the blast.

"There was a huge explosion. Most of us thought it was thunder, but it was a very, very loud bang," he said.

"Glass was blown all over the place. Everything on the street stopped and people were getting off the buses.

"After it went off there was an awful lot of people lying flat on the road."



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