London blasts too close for comfort


CHAOS, frightening and eerie are just some of the words used to describe the aftermath of the London bombings, and for two former Clarence Valley residents, they know the real meaning of those words.

Former Yamba resident Alicia Thomas now lives in London and was only 100 metres away from Kings Cross Station when a nearby bomb went off.

Her mum Chris Thomas said even though her daughter was not injured in the blast, she was caught up in the aftermath.

"She wasn't caught up in the explosions but she was near where it happened," she said.

"She was caught up in the chaos like everybody, with no transport to get home and having to walk home in the rain, which took a long time."

Mrs Thomas said she heard from her daughter via email soon after the blasts, but was yet to talk to her.

"I would love to hear her voice, knowing that she's okay, just to have that verbal contact," she said.

For former Palmers Channel resident Lyndal O'Keeffe, the bombs meant she had to cut short a holiday.

After visiting Greece, Ms O'Keeffe planned to spend a week visiting friends in England, but when she landed at Heathrow the day of the bombings, she decided to leave straight away.

"We got off the plane and we were told nothing at all," she said. "I was in the immigration line when an American girl got a phone call from her parents, asking her if she was all right, and she said what are you talking about because we had no idea."

Ms O'Keeffe said workers at the airport didn't seem overly concerned, but the lack of information about what was going on was disconcerting.

She decided to head straight home after an airline worker said she could get a seat on a flight out that morning.

"I said to her I don't know what to do and she said 'personally, I'd be out of here because you don't know how unsafe this place is'," she said.

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