In the scramble to get first images and witness accounts, journalists monitored social media closely and reached out to people seeking permission to use photos and videos. And while many journalists were considerate about not compromising the safety of commuters and eyewitnesses, the sheer number of requests prompted some backlash.
Peter Crowley, one of the commuters on the train at the time of the incident, posted alarming images of his singed forehead shortly after the Parsons Green underground station explosion.
"Charred head from the fireball at #ParsonsGreen," he wrote on Twitter along with the shocking images.
The four images uploaded by Mr Crowley showed burns on his forehead with the front portion of his hairline charred.
After he posted photos of his injury, Mr Crowley's Twitter timeline was flooded with requests from journalists seeking permission to use his photos.
Mr Crowley, hope you are safe. Are these images of you? Please DM me if you can respond.— Sewell Chan (@sewellchan) September 15, 2017
Hi Peter, is this you? Hope you're okay. I'm from UNILAD and would love to chat. Would you be able to follow and DM me about the incident?— Francesca Donovan (@Francesca_Don) September 15, 2017
Hi Peter, I hope you're okay after this. Could you please give me a follow so I can talk to you about what happened? I'm with @HuffPostUK— Jessica Pitocchi (@JPitocchi) September 15, 2017
Hi, hope you are safe. Could you please follow for DM re: radio interview? Many thanks— Federica Romaniello (@fede_romaniello) September 15, 2017
Hi Peter, sorry to see what's happened to you this morning - are you free to talk? You can send a number in my DMs— Jon Sharman (@Jon_S) September 15, 2017
Peter, sorry to see these pictures. I hope you're ok. Do you mind following me back?— Rohit Kachroo (@RohitKachrooITV) September 15, 2017
Hi Peter, hope you are alright. If you feel up to talking about what happened I can give you a call— Dan O'Donoghue (@DanChronicle) September 15, 2017
Hi peter - so sorry about what's happened to you. Could you follow me so I can message you?— Kate Conway (@C4NewsKate) September 15, 2017
Overwhelmed with requests, Mr Crowley tweeted a blanket consent:
To all who want to use the images they can!!— Peter Crowley (@cupid5tunt) September 15, 2017
Which caused some to criticise reporters for not leaving the visibly injured man alone:
Charge the vultures a fortune for your story. Bloody hell. Leave the man alone press!!!!— Evelyn Neill (@TOPTW1T) September 15, 2017
Firstly, Glad your alive mate! Scary stuff.— Brad Channer (@BradAcceler8me) September 15, 2017
Secondly, Look at the friggin reporters. At least ask if he's okay first.
Don't speak to the press mate. Take some time to yourself first. Hope you recover quickly.— Mark B (@MB3649) September 15, 2017
Between the requests and the criticism, many people (most strangers) also expressed their concern for the victim.
"I was on the phone with my face to the side of what I believe was where the explosion took place," Mr Crowley told the BBC in an interview. "Heard a loud bang...then this fireball above my head has come, singed all my hair."
Watch his first-hand account of the London tube attack below
The explosion at Parsons Green underground station in west London is being treated as "an act of terror", said Metropolitan Police. The blast took place inside a plastic bucket left in a supermarket bag on the train when it was at the underground station. The area has been cordoned off and taken over by the Scotland Yard, the British Transport Police and the fire department. Trains in the section have been suspended and passengers evacuated following the incident. Central and Victoria lines of the London Tube have also been affected.
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