London manhunt underway after bomb explosion in subway

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) –A manhunt is underway in London after a bucket bomb exploded on a crowded subway train during rush hour Friday morning, sending a fireball through the passenger car and leaving at least 22 people hospitalized. British authorities are treating the blast as a terror attack.

“This is a live investigation,” Assistant Commissioner for London’s Metropolitan Police Service, Mark Rowley, said after the explosion occurred in the Parsons Green tube station just after 8 a.m. local time.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said after an emergency cabinet meeting that the nation’s threat level is at “severe.” The public should remain vigilant, she said.

A British government official said the incident is being treated as a terror attack but so far it appears to be an isolated incident.

Eyewitnesses told ABC News that the blast happened as the train pulled into the station in the affluent, mainly residential area of West London.

“I heard a loud bang and as I looked to my right, there was a flame, a fireball came through the carriage … As the doors opened, people then began leaving the train straight away,” said Martin Adams, who was riding in the subway car at the time. “I saw some flames coming from what I thought was a blue bag.”

“I saw a couple people with burns. One lady had her hair badly singed by the fire,” said Sally Faulding, who witnessed the panic on the subway platform. “I also saw people injured obviously from having been stampeded on the platform because we were all running. People were falling over.”

The London Ambulance Service said it transported 22 people to area hospitals, but none of the injuries were serious or life-threatening. The London Ambulance said it responded to the scene at Parsons Green with multiple resources, including ambulance crews, incident response officers and its hazardous response team.

“There were no casualties at all on the train. Everybody appeared to get off,” Adams told ABC News. “There was nobody laying on the platform floor. I assessed that there were no serious casualties at that time.”

Police said the improvised explosive device on the train did not fully explode. No arrests have been made at this time.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement condemning those responsible for the attack.

“Our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life,” Khan said. “As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.”

President Donald Trump, who has clashed with Khan in the past, shared his thoughts on Twitter just before 7 a.m. Eastern time. Trump referred to the suspects being “in the sights of Scotland Yard,” though London officials have not publicly provided any confirmation of that.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said there were no known threats to the city’s subway system, but reminded passengers to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement saying he was increasing security in public transportation areas across the Empire State.

“Out of an abundance of caution, I am directing state law enforcement to increase security at vital assets across New York, including airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems,” Cuomo said. “The safety and security of New Yorkers is our number one priority, and we remain in close contact with local and federal officials. We remain vigilant, and we stand with the people of London.”

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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