Police have been called to Brixton following reports that a woman in her 20s has been attacked with a “noxious substance” while on a bus.
Officers confirmed they were responding to a suspected attack on Brixton Road in south London at around 1.45 pm on Tuesday.
The Met Police said it is searching for a single male suspect.
The woman, who has been taken to a central London hospital for treatment, has not suffered major burns, and her condition is neither life-changing nor life-threatening, officers said.
The incident is currently being treated as GBH. No arrests have been made.
A local shop-owner told HuffPost UK the woman ran into his store after the alleged attack.
“A woman ran off the bus screaming ‘acid attack’ and ran into the shop,” he said. “She grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and poured it on her face.”
Footage recorded by a security guard at a nearby H&M store and seen by HuffPost UK shows a fire officer dousing the alleged victim with water from a hose as she sits on the side of the road.
An onlooker, who gave his name as Hadj, said he saw two women fighting inside a bus. “They came out and were proper fighting, like pulling hair and everything,” he said.
“One fell on the floor and the other pulled a liquid from her bag and sprayed it her face.
“The other lady was screaming, she just lost control. As soon as we saw that we called the police. The other lady ran away,” he added.
A double-decker bus has been taped off by police near Brixton Tube Station.
A spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service (LAS) said a member of the service’s hazardous area response team was dispatched to the scene, along with an ambulance crew and three other responders.
Police remain at the scene of the incident, and temporary road closures are in place.
The alleged attack comes just two days after three men were found suffering from injuries caused by a noxious substance following a “large altercation” between two groups of men in Hackney.
The injuries sustained by the three men – aged 17, 22 and 27 – are not thought to be life-threatening, police said, but could be life-changing.
Joe Mulligan, the head of first aid education at the British Red Cross, said quick-thinking by those at the scene of an acid attack can make a “big difference”.
“Acid attacks are extremely distressing and can cause serious burns and life-changing injuries,” he said.
“The key thing to remember is to cool the burn as quickly as possible using cold running water for at least 20 minutes, this will also help to wash away the acid. Call 999 while you are cooling the burn.
“Comforting someone who’s been attacked is also a really important part of any first aid, as it calms the person and decreases stress levels, which has been shown to help with recovery.”