Two holes in the floor of the Edgeware Road coach

Nick Kollerstrom – Terror on the Tube November 18, 2010

Staggering new evidence has emerged from the Inquest, demonstrating that two or maybe three major holes were blown in the floor of the Edgware road coach – and that each one had a man fall into it. Two of those men gave testimonies which we  look at here, while the third slowly died after falling into the hole.

Clear maps provided by the police of the coach, enble us to locate them.

None of these holes are compatible with the alleged position of the suicide bomber. Indeed, we may doubt whether a suicide bomber sitting down with the rucksack on his lap, would make a hole in the floor at all. The holes we shall here examine, are some distance away from the seat where the bomber (‘Khan’) supposedly sat, spaced around the first and second set of double doors.

We here review four witness statements which describe the holes (plus a brief statement by barrister Hugo Young about them). The people who fell into holes are Daniel Belsten, John McDonald, and Mr Brewster who was killed.We here build upon the earlier discussion of Professor John Tulloch’s testimony which located the position of the main ‘crater’ as right next to him.

For comparison, the Aldwich bomb testimony heard in October showed evidence of a blast effect down the central axis of the coach, more spread-out than one would expect from a single rucksack.

Four Testimonies

1. Ray Whitehurst the train driver of the Edgware Road Circle line train wanted to check out what had happened – after his train slammed abruptly to a halt in the tunnel, hurling him against the front window. He got out, and ushered out the passengers in the first two carriages, providing some steps for them to dismount from the middle of the first carriage. Then he re-entered, and walked down through the first carriage, trying thereby to enter into the second.

He couldn’t, because of a body straddling the connecting passage between the two coaches*. Could he jump over this? Let’s hear his own words:

Q. You went inside the train, not down the outside?
A. No, I wasn’t down the outside then. And I thought — well, I tried to get across him, but I realised that, if I tried jumping across him, there was a hole in the floor that I could see, and I was probably going to go down that hole. So I decided against …’ (Nov 16 pm, 58:9-15)

Instead he had to dismount from the train at that point – he could not risk jumping into the hole in the floor, which he could dimly see.

Having been at the Inquest that afternoon, I have confidence in driver Ray Whitehust’s testimony as being totally balanced and authoritative: if he says there was a large hole there, then it was there. His testimony is especially valuable because he was not in a state of deep trauma – like the other survivors.

2. Daniel Belsten was sitting right up by the front of the 2nd coach in seat 2, (Nov 11, 2:18-3:4) – and here is how he described his experience of falling into that hole:

Q:  What do you recollect of the explosion itself?
A: I just felt a whack to the side of my head and just a big white flash, a big whack to the side of my head and — I don’t know, just everything was in slow motion. I just felt everything was just going in slow motion and I just felt like I was falling through the floor of the carriage, and I could feel — you know, I could smell all hot metal burning and felt like I was being electrocuted, you know….

These accounts somehow never quite sound like a bomb going off…

So, this first hole was right up at the very front of the 2nd carriage.

Daniel Belsden is then rescued – being quite surprised to find he is still alive and that has his legs are working – and led out via the first carriage. It’s not quite so bad there, he found, but:

Q. Did you stay in the first carriage for a bit or –
A. No, there was — all the manholes in the bottom of the carriage were blown out, but I couldn’t stay on my feet, you know, I was falling on my feet, and Susanna and this other bloke, you know, helped me up and kept saying “Watch the holes in the floor”, so we was like — but it was like other people all sat there, you know, knocked unconscious or whatever, I don’t know, but we just got to the end of the carriage and there was, like, some ladders, wooden steps, to bring you onto the track.’ (Nov 11 am, 9:13-22)

Driver Ray Whitehurst testified to setting up that ladder in the middle of the first carriage, where Daniel Belsten dismounts. So, the first carriage has its manholes blown out – and Mr Belsden is warned to watch out for holes in the floor!

3. Passenger David Matthews described two holes and these were a bit further down, around the second set of double-doors of this 2nd carriage.

Q. You’ve mentioned somebody lying across some seats just a few moments ago.
A. That was Mr Brewster.
Q. That was?
A. Mr Brewster.
Q. Oh, that was Mr Brewster.
A. Yes.
Q. Because the crater extended into the seat area, didn’t it, between 30 and 27? [NB, this area between 30 and 27 is where they are trying to put 'Khan']
A. There was two craters, wasn’t there?
Q. We’ve heard some evidence there were two holes.
A. Yes.
Q. There was a huge crater caused by the bomb.
A. Yes, and another one further up.
Q. Possibly, and was that towards the rear, that’s to say carriage 3, so between –
A. Yes.
Q. — seats 7 and 23?
A. Yes, between 26 and 23, yes.
Q. Right. Might that have been a manhole cover that had come up from the floor of the carriage?
A. It could have been, but it was — no, because the seats were missing, so it was definitely not a manhole cover.      (Nov 17, am, 105:21-106:18)

Barrister Hugo Keith admitted the problem to Prof. Tulloch:

Q. Professor, don’t worry about the X [where the blast was indicated on the diagram], because we have heard evidence from some witnesses which suggests that there’s other disruption and potentially other holes in the floor as well as the bomb crater, so it may in fact be a different hole that you’re referring to. (Nov 11 am 40:15-20)

4. John McDonald’s testimony is especially powerful and informative, because he had previously given a detailed account of his experience to the London Assembly back in 2006 (quoted in my book). The present Inquest took little notice of the earlier testimony, and did not allow him to read from his prepared notes. That’s an advantage for us, insofar as it gives two somewhat independent testimonies from the same person.

Going back a few years, his harrowing account of at least two large holes in the floor of the Edgware Road coach was given to the London Assembly’s July 7th Review Committee back in 2006 (Vol.3, ‘Views and Information from individuals.’) ‘John’ fell into one hole, and thought he was going to die, then was helped out, and then describes another big hole, also with someone slipping into it. Around that second big hole he came across, ‘the metal all around it was all jagged and bent from the explosion’.

He reappears as John McDonald at the Inquest, with an allusion made to his earlier GLA testimony (Nov 9 pm, 27:23), and is initially reading from his own notes. Mr McDonald’s memory (Nov 9, 42:18 – 44:11) is hardly compatible with the  official narrative – so, we wonder, would he hang onto it over five years? How consistent is memory, after deep trauma? Asked what he first experienced, he replied

A. Just after the train left Edgware station, there was a small bang, and then there was a massive bang, followed by two smaller bangs. Then, there was an orange fireball..

Sitting at the far end of the coach he was surely in a fine position to experience what exactly did happen: a small bang, followed by a massive bang, then two smaller bangs – and then a fireball. Hmm, well fancy that. Not surprisingly, he is soon interrupted by Lady Justice Hallett, who objects to his reading from notes, and wants him to reply to questions directly

Have a look at the diagram which Mr John Macdonald provided for the Inquest, on 9th November 2010. He was sitting right at the far end away from the blast (in seat no. 16, where he was person No.37) Going towards the front of the coach, the first hole in the floor on his diagram is that which, as we showed earlier was right in front of Professor Tulloch. (When Tulloch wanted to get up and move, he had to move diagonally top his left, and ended up by seat no. 23).

Wandering down the carriage, John McDonald falls into that hole:

Q. Can you just tell us very roughly where you think the manhole was through which you fell?
A. I think it was — it was just where David Gardner was at the side of it, just about where 26, 25, in front of there, in the centre.

The seat numbers 25,26, are right next to the ‘Tulloch hole.’

He thought he was going to die, but was rescued and pulled out of the hole, then he comes across the second hole in his diagram, which someone else had fallen down:

Q: With that in mind, tell us, please, how extensive the hole was, the crater, into which Mr Brewster had fallen.
A. That was completely different.
Q. It is, but I ask you because it’s marked on your map.
A. Okay, is that the hole in which Mr Brewster had been blown into was massive. It occupied the whole of — the whole area where the double door platform was and it went into the area of the central aisle.
Q. So you’re saying –
A. So, well, I would say perhaps it was about a third of the width of the carriage.
Q. Thank you, yes, and it obviously extended, as we can see from your diagram –
A. And the hole was — at the side where David Gardner was, there was a little ledge and that there was — it probably came inside about — let me think — about — just about the width of this box, a little bit wider at the side.
Q. All right.
A. The shape of it, as it got nearer the end, was a bit wider. At some parts, it was this width, and then it got wider towards the end of the — where the double door should have been. But, also, it had — parts of the floor were blown upwards and some of them were blown downwards.

The Inquest heard from a witness who looked under the train, after Mr Brewster had died, and saw: ‘His legs just seemed to be very mangled up in the wreckage. You couldn’t really see his legs.’ (Nov 9th pm, 84:4-77) It seems unlikely that a rucksack exploding on a seat not adjacent to him, would do such a thing; more like something under the train.

But, hang on. An Inquest is supposed to be concerned with cause of death. That’s what this multi-million pound five-month extravaganza is about,  isn’t it? There were quite a few allusions to the relatives of Mr Brewster who were present: it is evident that he died from the whole lower half of his body being mangled up with wreckage below the floor, not from anything (eg a rucksack-bomb) above it. Should not the Inquest have some comment, on how this came about?

John McDonald’s two testimonies are concordant. The earlier one is more deeply imbued with horror (‘I walked into an unknown hell’) while the Inquest testimony is more schematic, with a helpful diagram. Both have him falling into the hole in front of Tulloch. That second hole in his diagram is basically the hole indicated in the Inquest’s seat-diagram, prepared by the Met. It was enormous, John Mcdonald recalled.

This Inquest may be the first time we have heard of the name of the Edgware-Road train driver Ray Whitehurst: I could not find it when composing my book (one may find a comparable comment on the J7 site, that the names of the key train-drivers were unobtainable). His testimony is now on record, and knocks a big hole in the official story. The clear testimony of the train’s driver places a third major hole by the very front of the 2nd coach – and Daniel Belsten falls into it.

There seem to have been three large holes in the Edgware-Road circle line 2nd coach. Clearly, if there was more than one hole in the floor of the coach, that drives a stake right through the heart of the suicide-bomber theory. It cannot recover again after that. It may stagger around a bit like an undead zombie, but basically it’s finito.

The authorities may be hoping that the media will not pick up on the complete refutation of the official story that has just emerged from the Edgware Road section of the Inquest. One fears that, alas, such a hope is quite justified.

* The person whom the driver Ray came across  was laid out in-between the two coaches ’with a hole the size of a tennis ball in his leg.’ Had that bolt, or whatever blew though his leg, been blasted out from below the carriage floor?

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