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Area tourists, ex-residents ‘too close’ for comfort

While thousands of miles away, Thursday’s terrorist attacks inLondon hit close to home for several Brookhaven families withrelatives there.

Family members reported no injuries, but their loved ones’travel plans were disrupted because of security measures andtransportation service shutdowns in the wake of the morning rushhour bombings.

John Lynch, whose daughter Amanda is an Ole Miss studentstudying abroad, said she was ordered off a double-decker bus andcould not use the tube, or subway, because they were shut down.

“She had to walk about a mile and a half back to her flat,”Lynch said.

Lynch said students attend classes Monday through Wednesday andcan travel other days. He said Amanda called him and his wife Helenearly Thursday to inform them before they had a chance to hear newsreports of the incident.

“She’s perfectly fine, and we’re glad of that,” said Lynch,adding that his daughter was panicked following the attacks and thetransportation uncertainty.

Living in London, Helen Clare Rushton, the daughter the Rev.Robert and Rosie Oates, said her family does not have a televisionand she did not learn of the attacks until her husband, Adam, camehome from church around 11:30 a.m. Thursday London time. He is theyouth minister at All Souls Anglican Church.

“It’s such as shock that someone could something so horrible,”Rushton said.

The Rushtons live close to the King’s Cross station and EdgwareRoad stations, where two of the attacks took place. Helen ClareRushton said they live about a mile on either side of thestations.

“We’re kind of in the middle,” Rushton said.

She said they watched news coverage of the attacks at a friend’shome. She said the London bombings were a reminder of the Sept. 11,2001, attacks in the U.S.

“We’ve heard sirens all day,” Rushton said.

Around 4 p.m., she said, the streets filled with people.

“People were trying to get home, but there was notransportation,” Rushton said.

Brookhaven Academy student Brandon Smith was among a delegationof student ambassadors visiting Europe as part of a Student toStudent Ambassador program. Other local students in the 44-persondelegation included Robbie Nettles, of Brookhaven High School, andBrittany Evans, who attends Loyd Star.

Kelli Smith, Brandon’s mother, said the delegation was returningto London on Thursday from Birmingham, England, for their returntrip to the United States. They were staying at a hotel in Croydon,about 30 miles outside London, when Smith spoke to her son laterThursday.

“They were not in any great danger at that point in time,” Smithsaid.

Smith said there was some initial uncertainty about whether thegroup would be able to catch their scheduled flight or whether theywould have to fly out of somewhere else. However, Smith said thegroup was to catch their scheduled flight and be back in Jacksonaround 6 this evening.

“We’re ready for them to be back on American soil,” Smithsaid.

Smith said the group had been through the King’s Cross stationfrequently during the three days they were in London after arrivingJune 20. Even though the group had visited the station on the frontend of their trip instead of the back end, she said it was still”too close” when there is a dangerous situation.

“When your children are that far away, it’s a scary thought,”Smith said.