All 10 West Virginia University students studying in London this summer have been accounted for and were not injured in the explosions that hit that citys transit system early today (July 7), WVU officials report.
Staff from the Office of International Programs began calling and e-mailing students immediately after receiving news of the deadly blasts.
By 1:20 p.m., Tara George-Jones, coordinator of WVU s study abroad program, had successfully communicated with all of the students or their program coordinators.
As soon as we heard the news, we were on the case,said Dan Weiner, director of International Programs.We started calling students around 7 a.m., and weve received confirmation on all of them.
At this point, there is no indication of any students leaving because of todays events, he added.
Other faculty and staff members with London connections, meanwhile, are also monitoring todays events closely.
Trevor Harris, chair of the Department of Geology and Geography, and his wife, Sylvia, vice president of WVU s Monongalia County Mountaineer Parents Club, lived in England for about 35 years.
Sylvia was born in London; Trevor grew up in Kent, about 35 miles south of there.
They said todays events bring back nightmares of the IRA bombing campaign and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
We went through the IRA bombings,Sylvia said,and you have to live your life from day to day and carry on with it. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families. Ive got a friend whose husband is flying from Poland into London, and she said she was waiting to hear from him.
Like most of the WVU community, the Harrises first heard about todays explosions on television.
We woke up and heard it being played out at 4:30 a.m.,Trevor said.The bombs went off during the major time of rush hour. Most of Londons been brought to a standstill. It was reminiscent of 9/11 when everything stopped working. The fact that the buses and subway arent working is pretty disastrous.
The couples first thoughts were of their family and friends in Kent and London.
We tried calling, but we had terrible difficulties this morning because phone
lines were down,Sylvia said.Even the land lines were so busy, you couldnt get through.
They finally made contact with their parents shortly after 8 a.m. Everyone was safe, including Sylvias sister, who works for an American insurance company in the part of the city known as the financial district.
She works right where they were talking about,Sylvia said.She catches the train and sometimes �€~the underground,the tube. I havent spoken to my sister, but shes e-mailed me.
The message read:All okay. Dont know how Im going to get home. Ill talk to you when I get home.
I dont know how shes going to get home from work,Sylvia said,but everythings going to be fine.
As fate would have it, her stepsister, who usually commutes to London, had jury duty today and never had to go into work.
Despite todays tragedy, Trevor and Sylvia are optimistic about Englands future and say it wont deter people from living their lives.
This wont influence the way England organizes itself as a democratic society,Trevor said.The railway seems to still be working. Thankfully, it wasnt bombed or the entire metropolis would have been brought to a stop.
People closely affectedit will take longer, but mainly youll find that things will go back to normal as quickly as they possibly can,Sylvia added.