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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July 2005, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Bus passenger cheated death twice
By Steven Shukor
BBC News website

Blast survivor Angela Griffiths
Angela Griffiths was on her way to a business meeting
A passenger on the number 30 bus which exploded in the London bombings on Thursday, killing 13 people, has told how she narrowly escaped death.

When the blast wrecked the bus in Tavistock Square Angela Griffiths came close to never seeing her two children again, she told BBC News.

Mrs Griffiths boarded the bus after leaving the Tube at Edgware Road following a loud bang.

She did not know then that it was one of the London Underground bomb blasts.

Moments before the bus explosion the 36-year-old felt moved to pray.

"I was not panicking or anything. I just had a feeling something was not right," she told BBC News.

Bus explosion
I kept thinking it was probably safer on the bus and I was waiting for us to drive off

On boarding the bus, she said: "I overheard snippets of conversation about bombs - a bomb going off at Liverpool Street station.

"We began hearing police sirens and the bus was being diverted because some streets were cordoned off."

She just wanted to get to her business meeting at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel

But she never made it to her destination, because the explosion tore through the bus as she was sitting on the bottom deck by the stairs.

"I looked outside and saw debris falling everywhere. I felt pain in my back, legs and an ankle."

Her first thought was that the bomb had exploded in the street.

That day I came so close to never seeing them [my children] again
"I kept thinking it was probably safer on the bus and I was waiting for us to drive off."

Only gradually did it dawn in her that it was her bus that had blown up.

"There was no crying, murmuring or whimpering. I don't remember hearing screams. It was a deadly silence," said Mrs Griffiths, a clinical research scientist from Cheshire.

It was when she got off the bus that she saw the full extent of the carnage.

"The explosion was deafening but I did not think it had caused that much damage. I was truly shocked.

"There was shards of glass and twisted metal all around me. It was only after walking down the street and turning round that I saw how much damage the bus had suffered."

When I saw my husband I just jumped into his arms and kept saying 'I love you'

She was helped by a passer-by when she got off the bus and sought refuge in an office in Tavistock Square with two other women who had survived the bus bombing.

"We held hands, we bonded and became really close. It helped," she said.

She was taken to the Royal Free Hospital, in north London, where she was treated for minor cuts and bruising and discharged soon afterwards.

Emotional reunion

Mrs Griffiths says she has only just begun to appreciate how lucky she was to escape and be reunited with her family - four-year-old son Richard and 10-month-old daughter Zoe.

"That day I came so close to never seeing them again."

She had been staying with her parents in Reading while she had to be in London for the meeting.

When her husband Lee heard about the explosions he rushed down from their home in Congleton to find her.

Meanwhile Mrs Griffiths was desperately trying to get in touch with her family to let them know she was OK.

She could not reach her husband because his phone switched over to the answering service, but eventually she reached her mother after 20 attempts.

"By the time I got through I was blubbering."

I can't sleep. I'm emotionally exhausted and tearful

Her mother was so distressed she had to phone her back to reassure her.

Eventually she was reunited with her husband at a relative's home in Whitechapel.

"When I saw my husband I just jumped into his arms and kept saying 'I love you'."

Later that evening she finally got to see her children.

It had been the longest time she had been away from her baby daughter Zoe, whom she is still breastfeeding, and she got her son Richard out of bed she was so desperate to see him.

"I was just cuddling them both and not wanting to let them go."

But she is still coming to terms with what happened to her and now wants to get in touch with the fellow women survivors.

"I can't sleep. I'm emotionally exhausted and tearful," she said.

She hopes being reunited with those women will help.

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