What caused explosion at Southgate Tube station?

Five people injured as blast sparks mass panic among commuters

Southgate tube
Police officers outside the cordoned-off station 
(Image credit: Twitter)

Five people were injured last night following an explosion at a packed Tube station in north London.

Officers “were called to reports of people running out of Southgate Tube station shortly after 7pm on Tuesday”, says The Daily Telegraph.

London Ambulance Service said two people had been taken to hospital and three others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

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So what caused the explosion?

“It appears at this stage that the cause of the explosion was a drill battery short circuit,” according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police, which added that officers were working with the British Transport Police (BTP) to “establish the full facts”.

Witness James Ayton told the Press Association that he was on the escalator when he saw a “quick burst” of “6ft plus” flames at the top that sparked a mass stampede as people fled the station. Ayton said: “It wasn’t a bang. It was like a very rapid whooshing sound.”

The escalator was packed because a number of passengers had just come off a train, he added. “A few people got trampled on the escalator. There was screaming. An old woman got trampled on. I had to carry a woman up the stairs. I think she was in shock to be honest. She couldn’t walk, shaking,” Ayton said.

Another witness told the London Evening Standard that someone was seen being taken out of the station on a stretcher.

The police confirmed to Metro that the incident was not believed to be terror-related.

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Repeated warnings about the severity of the terrorist threat and the series of attacks Britain suffered last year “means there is huge attention on such reported incidents”, says The Guardian.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised emergency services for their “swift and professional response” to the incident.

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