A POLICEMAN has spoken of the horrifying moment he ran for his life to dodge a derailed train as it crashed into Potters Bar station.

PC David Bedford was on the platform on May 10, 2002 when the 12.45pm from Kings Cross came off the rails at close to 100mph and the fourth carriage flipped and careered towards the platform.

PC Bedford said: “I heard what sounded like a very large explosion from behind me. I turned around and saw a large plume of dust or smoke swirling in the air.

“From out of this emerged a train travelling north. There was debris coming off the platform and lots of noise.

“It took a second perhaps to register what I had actually seen. At that point, I turned and ran away along the platform away from the carriage.

“I thought it was going to hit me and people on the platform.”

PC Bedford, who was on his way to work at Wood Green Police Station that day, witnessed the detached carriage roll on to its side and crash into the canopy covering the platforms.

Fighting back tears as he recalled the crash on the third day of the inquest into the seven people who died, Mr Bedford told how he jumped down on to the track and immediately went to the aid of injured passengers who had been flung from the train.

He said: “I dropped my bag on the side of the platform and jumped down on to the track because I could see a white male lying in between the northbound tracks.

“I went to him and asked if he was OK, it was the only thing I could think to ask. He was alive and I spoke to him just to make sure he was OK.”

PC Bedford then ducked under the crashed carriage and found the body of Jonael Schickler, 25, from East Sussex, who had suffered “horrific head injuries” and died on impact.

He also discovered passengers Chia Chin Wu, 30, and Chia Hsin Lin, 29, who had also been thrown from the train and died side by side “in a huddled position”.

After helping passengers outside the carriage, Mr Bedford smashed windows with lumps of debris to get inside to help the injured people who were trapped.

He found Maria Duque-Ordizl seriously injured and trapped in the carriage – which he described as “searingly hot” - and stayed with her until she could be lifted out to safety.

He said: “I just held her head in my lap and just talked to her – she asked if I could ring her husband at some stage.

“I stayed with Maria until the paramedics arrived, and handed her out through the carriage window.”

PC Bedford stayed at the scene of the crash for more than four hours, helping to carry the injured from the tracks to the ambulance along with several others who had rushed to the scene, including South Bank lecturer Louis Spring.

Mr Spring told the inquest, at the Spirella Building in Letchworth, how he too had to run for his life to escape being hit by the derailed train and then went to comfort the injured.

He said he found a “panicked” woman whose leg was trapped under the carriage, and then heard screams of “help” coming from inside the stricken train.

Mr Spring said he had no first-aid experience but did what he could to help those who were injured to stay conscious until the paramedics took over the scene.

The inquest, which is likely to last two months, is due to hear this afternoon from more eyewitnesses who were first om the scene of the fatal crash.