Police Seek Answers On Central London’s Black Friday Panic

Police are still investigating an incident that triggered panic near Oxford Circus, one of the London’s busiest Tube stations, on Friday.

British Transport Police believe the panic occurred after an “altercation” between two people on the train platform, HuffPost UK reported.

BTP noted that two men, ages 21 and 40, submitted to voluntary interviews as authorities continue their probe.

Around 4:30 p.m. local time on Friday, armed police rushed to respond to multiple reports of shots fired in the area. Panicked commuters hurried out of the station and joined pedestrians seeking shelter in nearby shops, where police told them to stay put for safety. 

Authorities were unable to find evidence of gunfire, however, prompting questions over what had sparked the commotion.

There were no casualties.

The London Ambulance Service said it treated and released seven patients at the scene for injuries they sustained while trying to evacuate the area. Eight additional people were taken to two hospitals for treatment of minor injuries, and another patient was sent to a trauma center for leg injuries. 

An erroneous report from The Daily Mail suggested a truck had hit pedestrians. Meanwhile, anxious tweets from singer Olly Murs ― who has nearly 8 million Twitter followers and was in a nearby department store at the time ― also added to the confusion.

After about 90 minutes, London’s Metropolitan Police announced it was standing down the search, conducted alongside the BTP.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan thanked authorities for their “swift response.”

“It is extremely important that we all remain vigilant and don’t panic,” he continued. “It is vital that we are not complacent ― if in doubt it is always best to err on the side of caution and call the police on 999.”

Videos of the panic began cropping up on social media immediately on Friday. 

“I was walking towards Oxford Street Station and Carnaby Street was just completely empty and everyone was hiding in the stores, no one knew what was going on,” one witness told HuffPost UK on Friday.

She continued: “And then all of a sudden we just saw a flood of people just running. So I quickly just ran into the closest Pret and to begin with everyone was calm but we suddenly just saw more people running down from Carnaby Street.”

A bomb attack at different London train station in September brought the total number of terror attacks in the U.K. to at least five in 2017 alone. The nation’s terror threat level remains “severe.” 

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