Update from Central London Host Renee Montagne talks to Financial Times political correspondent Ben Hall, reporting from the House of Commons in central London, about casualty figures, the latest from police and how the city is responding.
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Update from Central London

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Update from Central London

Update from Central London

Update from Central London

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Host Renee Montagne talks to Financial Times political correspondent Ben Hall, reporting from the House of Commons in central London, about casualty figures, the latest from police and how the city is responding.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Several explosions rocked London's transportation system this morning. The subway system was shut down after a series of explosions. At least three buses have also been destroyed. Several people have been injured. The explosions coincide with the G8 Summit in Scotland hosted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Ben Hall is a political correspondent for The Financial Times.

And what more can you tell us about these explosions?

Mr. BEN HALL (The Financial Times): Well, what we know is that there was a series of explosions, several explosions at around 9:00 this morning, just as commuters were coming into work. The entire London Underground has been shut down. We believe that there were four explosions at separate London Underground stations. And there have also been the--police are reporting three explosions on London buses.

MONTAGNE: And all at about the same time.

Mr. HALL: All at about the same time, yes, around about 9:00.

MONTAGNE: And what are eyewitnesses saying?

Mr. HALL: Well, they are suggesting that eyewitnesses have seen lots of people streaming out of London Underground stations with their clothes ripped and covered in blood. And we're seeing pictures of some of the passengers on this one--in particular, one double-decker bus which we've seen distant sort of footage of which was ripped apart by some explosion. And, clearly, there was a very, very loud bang. So the police are suspecting that that clearly was--suspecting that that was a bomb on that bus in particular.

MONTAGNE: We're getting reports of people being injured. Any deaths reported or confirmed?

Mr. HALL: No. The police have said there have been serious casualties, but there have been no deaths confirmed at this stage.

MONTAGNE: And is there any speculation at this stage of the game about the cause?

Mr. HALL: Well, of course, the government and the police are saying it's too early to confirm what the cause of this series of incidents has been. Early on, it was suggested it might have been a power surge on the London Underground that caused some explosions on the trains. But I think certainly in the case of this double-decker bus, which has been ripped apart, it looks--does look like a bomb or an explosion. And I think coming the day after London won the Olympics, with the world leaders of the G8 up in Scotland and given the parallels with the Madrid train bombings, I think people are going to speculate that this was a coordinated terrorist attack. But it is far too early to tell at this stage.

MONTAGNE: And has Prime Minister Tony Blair spoken or any other G8 leader spoken up there in Scotland?

Mr. HALL: Not as far as we know yet, but I would imagine that they will be fairly shortly. I think Mr. Blair will be--will certainly make a statement fairly shortly once he's probably been briefed, fully briefed on what exactly has happened.

MONTAGNE: Well, you know, I asked you just a moment ago about eyewitnesses. Any reports by eyewitnesses of anybody running away or any sense of having seen any perpetrator?

Mr. HALL: No, but there are some reports some unions, trade union sources, for example, have suggested that there was one explosive device found at one station and--but we haven't seen any--you know, we haven't heard of any reports of, you know, terrorist suspects as such.

MONTAGNE: So that's where it stands pretty much at this moment?

Mr. HALL: Absolutely.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. HALL: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Ben Hall is a political correspondent for The Financial Times in London.

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