Survivors of the July 7 bombings have told an inquiry how they have been left "in the dark" by authorities ever since the attacks.

Twelve survivors - only known by their first names - told a London Assembly committee of their struggle to deal with the trauma with little or no support.

"On July 7 we helped each other in the dark," said Rachael, who started the King's Cross United support group for fellow-survivors of the most fatal blast. "We've pretty much been in the dark ever since."

Christina, another King's Cross survivor, told how she was sent from pillar to post for more than five months in a desperate search for counselling. Only in December she managed to see a psychologist for the first time, and was finally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"When you're at the end of your rope, to wait four of five months I just think it's too long," she said.

'Why aren't you down there?'

Even on the day of the bombings red tape may have delayed help in some cases, the July 7 Review Committee heard.

At Aldgate, the wounded Michael and other passengers escaped from the bombed train by walking back up the track. "We sat there for what seemed to be an age, thinking that we would be rescued."

Tube drivers evacuated the carriages. "You could see the debris and the bodies on the track... It lives in my memory."

On the way he saw a lone off-duty policewoman sitting by a woman who lost both legs in the explosion. "All she could do is hold this lady's head."

But on the platform there were two groups of firemen, just waiting.

"I walked up onto the platform and asked the first group of firemen why they weren't down there - there's people dying down there - and they wouldn't look at me.

"They looked at each other."

They were waiting for clearance, lest a second bomb went off.

Paramedics just waiting

At Edgware Road another survivor, Ben, also came across six paramedics waiting on the platform as long as 40 minutes after the bombing. He spoke to them, but to no avail. "I could not get them to go down. They were just standing there."

Like the firemen, the paramedics were waiting for clearance, or perhaps supplies. They "may have been let down by bureaucracy," Ben said.

Both Ben and Michael urged the emergency services to review their protocols for entering such sites.

Before he got off the Edgware Road train, Ben tried to access a first aid box on one carriage wall. It was locked. A Tube driver told Ben he had no key, and that "it would be empty anyway".

The survivor John called for first aid kits on trains, aircraft-style LCD lights on the floors and a return of train guards.

Others also called for an umbrella body to take the name of victims on the day of such an event, enabling better follow-up.

The July 7 committee, which investigated the emergency response to the attacks, is due to publish its findings in May.