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Monday, 11 October, 1999, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Inferno survivors speak of relief
Survivors described the bravery of rescuers
Survivors from the first class carriage which burst into flames in the Paddington rail crash have spoken of their relief at being alive.

After the collision the carriage - immediately behind the Great Western locomotive - was engulfed with fire.

London Train Crash
Chris Goodall, managing director of Demon Internet, said he saw only "four or five" others struggle free.

Mr Goodall, who boarded the express train at Didcot, Oxfordshire, disclosed that the driver of the express train had been semi-conscious but "looking in a very bad way" after the horrific smash, although the locomotive was damaged "beyond recognition".

Steve Jones: "We were desperately trying to break windows"
"I went over to him to try and get him out, but he was wedged in what remained of the cab," he told Channel 4 News.

Passenger Steve Jones, 38, who was also travelling in the first class carriage, had been preparing to get off the train when the crash happened.

He said: "There was a bang like an explosion and a cloud of black smoke almost immediately, and flames.

"We were desperately trying to break windows.

"Another man in the carriage used a table to break a hole in the double-glazed windows and he clambered out.

"It was pretty horrific. I feel incredibly lucky."

Mr Jones, a management consultant from Cheltenham, spoke as he left St Mary's Hospital, where he had been treated for burns.

He said cost should not be a factor in rail safety systems.

He said: "The technology is there. I should be able to get on a train in Cheltenham and get off in London safely. It is an established mode of transport.

"I feel very worked up now. I feel extremely lucky but the people that died need not have died."

Another crash survivor spoke from his hospital bed about the moment his regular journey to work was touched by tragedy.

Brendon Bentley, a 24-year-old chartered accountant from Wellington, New Zealand, said he felt "lucky to be alive".

He was travelling to work at BT Cellnet in Slough, Berkshire, on the Thames train when the accident happened.

Brendon Bentley had his spleen removed after the accident
He said: "I remember just a big surge and everyone being knocked down, and then bits of seat and everything coming from over my shoulders, then just darkness.

"I tried to get up. There were plenty of people about telling everyone to calm down," he said.

"There were a couple of people at my legs, they couldn't move, and another girl taking some jackets and trying to put out the fire."

He said: "I was pretty sore, but I could see the flames and there were some people trapped underneath the seats.

"We had to try to get over to them and try to give them a hand, but we couldn't, so then the first priority was just to get off the carriage."

BBC Transport Correspondent Simon Montague: "The Thames train went through one red light and two yellow warnings"
The BBC's Jeremy Paxman grills John Prescott over why Automatic Train Protection has not been fitted to all trains
The BBC's Ben Brown: "This is the worst crash since 1988"
Assistant Deputy Commissioner Andy Trotter: "Family liaison is uppermost in our minds at the moment"
The BBC's Christina Shanks: "A lot of activity by British Transport Police"
Supt Tony Thompson, of British Transport Police: "It's a very laborious task and it's going to take some time"
The BBC's Bob Sinkinson: "The smell of diesel is everywhere"
Gerald Corbett:"We have to ensure this kind of thing never happens again"
Steve Jones: "There was a bang like an explosion"
Survivor Brendan Bentley speaks from his hospital bed of his lucky escape
The BBC's Jon McIntyre:"Dozens remain in hospital"
The BBC's John McIntyre: "Dozens of patients remain in hospital's across London"
See also:

05 Oct 99 | UK Politics
06 Oct 99 | Health
11 Oct 99 | London train crash
08 Oct 99 | UK
11 Oct 99 | Health
05 Oct 99 | Business
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