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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Witnesses describe train crash
The derailment scene remains cordoned off for checks
Checks continue at the derailment scene
Passengers have described their ordeal on the high-speed train which derailed near Hatfield, killing at least four people.

"I just heard a bang," said Stephen Morgan.

anna brecon
Emmerdale actress Anna Brecon: "Lucky"
"I was walking towards the bar and heard a bang, then the train started swaying and it went over.

"I just held on for dear life. The carriage I was in was a bit busted up but nobody was really badly injured where I was."

Channel Four News reporter Justin Rowlatt, another of the passengers, described how the train came off the rails and skidded along gravel at the side of the tracks.

Speaking shortly after the crash, he said: "The roof has been completely ripped off the restaurant car.

"There is a guy with a broken leg still inside the train and two people with severe gashes. The first-class carriages have completely come off the rails.


The carriages at the back of the train looked like they were whipping around

Justin Rowlatt
"The carriages at the back of the train looked like they were whipping around and have gone into some of the supports for the electric rails.

"I can see mangled seats, newspapers and bags in there - further down, I'm told you can see dead bodies lying by the rails."

He told reporters that he could hear the sirens of emergency service vehicles arriving within 10 minutes of the derailment.

Actress Anna Brecon - Lady Tara Thornfield in the ITV soap Emmerdale - said she "felt lucky to be alive", escaping with only cuts as she made what is for her a regular journey on the train.


It was like the train hit something on the track

Student Nick Sutch
The actress, real name Anna Davies, was in the first class carriage of Coach H - the penultimate carriage - with her mother, who was also only slightly hurt.

"The first thing I felt was we were braking very suddenly and very sharply," she said.

"At first I thought it was going to stop but within a couple of seconds we started to tilt and we came off the tracks. We were gliding a lot and tipping over.

"I was incredibly lucky. I was aware of a lot of glass and dust flying around near my face. The window beside me had completely smashed.

John Stevens
John Stevens: "When I came around everything seemed to be in turmoil"
"The train was dragging along the ground and the gravel came into the window, spraying in until we stopped.

"It was extremely calm even as it was happening. Nobody made any sound, it was very quiet and calm.

"I called out 'Is anybody injured?' but nobody replied.

"I looked to my left and there were a couple of ladies who looked quite hurt and there was a stewardess who had been hurt. She was OK though and conscious. Everybody was conscious."


I just thought I was going to die

Peter Cole
They got out through the smashed window, she said, fearing the carriage would topple over, and made their way to a house near the track.

Fred Parker, 88, and his wife Doris, 78, of Eltham, south-east London, were travelling to see their son in East Yorkshire.

"One second we were there and the next we were on the floor," said Mr Parker.

They were treated for bruising.

'Tipper over'

Leeds City Council employee Dianne Hudson, 47, said: "I was chatting to some bloke who was sitting nearby. And the next thing I was literally flung out of my seat and ended up under a table."

Hull University student Nick Sutch, 22, from Camberley, Surrey, said: "It was like the train hit something on the track. There was a bang and it seemed to turn over."

Peter Cole, a lorry driver from Stevenage, was on the train with his wife, Catherine.

"Our carriage tipped over," he said.

"It was just a shock, the whole thing. I just thought I was going to die. It was really horrible."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fergus Walsh at QEII Hospital, Welwyn
"Most of the injured have now been discharged"
Hertfordshire train crash


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