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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 20:42 GMT 21:42 UK
Images of 7 July: Tunnel horror
Adam Stacey exiting the bombed Piccadilly line train with sock over his mouth
Credit: Adam Stacey

Adam Stacey was caught up in the Piccadilly Line blast between King's Cross and Russell Square, but was not in the bombed carriage.

After being trapped for about 40 minutes in a smoky carriage and amid increasing alarm, he and his fellow commuters were let off the train and told to walk back down the track.

Seeing others taking out mobile phone cameras, and not knowing there had been a bomb attack, he asked his friend Elliot to take a picture to show his colleagues at work.

Adam Stacey outside Holborn Underground station
Mr Stacey: It would feel "mercenary" to make money from the image

Before he knew it the image was being used all over the world and he was being asked to do interviews for all kinds of media, including Japanese TV and American radio.

Mr Stacey, a 24-year-old civil servant, had been travelling from his house in north London, to his office near Holborn on 7 July 2005.

"It was really busy on the platform, there wasn't a train for another seven or eight minutes which is unusually slow for that time of the morning. Because it was so busy we stayed in middle, whereas we would normally try to get to one end of the train.

"When we were between the two stations there was a loud bang and the train stopped. The lights went out and people were shouting because the train had juddered to a halt and they were falling into each other.

"It felt as if the train could have stalled or something. We were too far away from the explosion to see a flash of light.

"It was quiet for a few seconds then smoke started coming in from the window behind. We didn't know if it was from a fire or maybe if there were chemicals or gas coming in.

"I was planning to go to the gym after work and I had spare socks in my bag, which I used to cover my mouth.

It wasn't until I got home that evening and my flatmate hugged me and said 'thank God you're still alive' that it really kicked in

"We waited about 35 to 40 minutes. There were mixed reactions, some people were calm and some were stressing out and starting to panic.

"The girl next to me was breaking down and crying, and Elliot was trying to comfort her.

"After a while we heard shouting from other carriages then we heard someone smashing a window, and we could see people outside the carriage.

"People were debating if we should smash a window. I thought 'if there's a fire then we're screwed', but that the best thing to do would be to wait for someone to come. We were worried the tracks might still be live.

"I think I felt better than some people because I was with Elliot, we were even joking with each other about whether we would get the rest of the day off work.

"Eventually some engineers came along, opened the door and said it was okay for us to get off and go down the track. There was a massive line of people walking down the line, it was a surreal experience.

"As we got off the train I saw someone else getting their mobile phone camera out and I asked Elliot to take a picture of me. My thought was that it would just be something to show my friends say 'look what happened to us'.

Weblog messages

"We walked to work covered in black soot, it was all over my shirt.

"Throughout the day people were asking me if I was okay, but it wasn't until I actually got home that evening and my flatmate hugged me and said 'thank God you're still alive' that it really kicked in and I realised how serious it was.

"My dad contacted me and when I told him I was on that train he said 'oh my God, you'd better call your mum'.

"My mum is Italian and quite emotional, she wanted to hug me and not let go.

"I certainly got very drunk that weekend, I felt I'd been very lucky."

Having heard that some news sites were using pictures taken by members of the public, Adam first sent his image to the Sun newspaper.

It was picked up by a weblog site, Moblog UK, and once on there the image attracted scores of postings from around the world.

The comments later led to Moblog's Alfie Dennen establishing the website We're Not Afraid, which received images and messages of support from across the globe after the bombings.

Mr Dennen contacted Mr Stacey on 7 July to ask if he would agreed to a Creative Commons Licence on the image, which is a way to distribute information free.

"I said that was fine. I didn't think of the image as my property. It would have seemed so mercenary to make money from it."

The resulting media attention was "exciting" for a time admits Mr Stacey, whose image was selected as one of the best of 2005 by Time Magazine.

"A Japanese TV film crew came over on the Saturday and they were interviewing Elliot and I through a translator. They asked us to hold up our soot-covered shirts to the camera, it was bizarre."

Interview: Paula Dear




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