A commuter has described the chaos at Catford Bridge when a teenage schoolgirl was hit by a train during rush hour this morning.

The 16-year-old was treated for injuries to her head and leg before being rushed to hospital when she remains in a serious condition.

Commuter Joe Woolley was in the front carriage of the train by the left window when the schoolgirl was hit.

He estimated that the train was travelling at around 25mph when it entered the platform at Catford Bridge just before 8am.

The 24-year-old told News Shopper: “There was an almighty bang.

“From what I saw it was almost like a towel or a bin bag had come across the window.

“Everybody on the platform screamed and everyone hit the floor that’s how much of an impact it had.

“There was screaming on the platform, everyone was running.

“I thought a bomb had gone off it was that bad from the reaction of everyone on the platform.”

He added: “My initial reaction was it looked like somebody had thrown a towel or something at the train.

“Obviously what it was, was the poor girl had come passed the window.”

Mr Woolley, who had boarded the 7.46am train from West Wickham, said the driver slammed on the brake before speaking to passengers over the tannoy.

“The driver, in an emotional voice, explained he thought somebody had hit the train,” he said.

“He advised all the passengers to stay away from the windows and doors.”

The platform at Catford Bridge was packed with commuters heading into the city, many of whom were in shock and visibly emotional.

Mr Woolley said he saw people rush to the side of the tracks in a bid to help the injured girl.

He said: “People were very keen to get on the tracks to help her.

“All round it was a very bad experience for everybody on the platform, but naturally the poor girl, that is what everybody is worried about.”

After being kept on the train for around half an hour, passengers were evacuated by the emergency services.

Commuter James Regan, who was also on the train, told News Shopper: "The train driver announced that a schoolgirl had either jumped or fallen in front of the train. 

"We were on the train for about half an hour to 45 minutes before we could get off.

"Firemen and other police personnel escorted us off the train and we had to walk along the track for about 20 feet or so to reach the platform.”

A spokesman for the British Transport Police said the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

London’s Air Ambulance and the London Fire Brigade also attended the scene.

Southeastern has advised anyone affected by this morning’s incident to contact the Samaritans.