Thursday 17 August 2017

19 concert-goers slaughtered in blast as terror link probed

‘There was an explosion and a smell of smoke and burning’

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead

Thomas Penny

An estimated 19 people died last night in an apparent explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Another 50 concert-goers at the Manchester Arena were reported to have been injured.

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
A police officer escorts people near the Manchester Arena
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast
Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Emergency services at the scene. Photo: PA
A police officer talks to locals outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Armed police officers stand outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after the blast
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena

Officials last night warned that the death toll could be even higher, though there was no confirmation of any final figure.

There were fears that children and teenagers, who had attended the concert by American artist Ariana Grande, could be among the casualties.

The blast - a deafening bang heard up to two miles away and a bright flash - was last night being treated as a potential terror-related incident.

Witnesses said that many of the injured had suffered shrapnel wounds consistent with the detonation of a nail bomb or similar device.

Bomb disposal units were called to the scene of the blast at the Manchester Arena to confirm the safety of the venue.

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs close to the foyer area of the venue, which is the largest indoor concert arena in Europe.

"A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena," concert-goer Majid Khan (22) said.

"It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit."

Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA

Oliver Jones (17) added: "The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run."

Video from inside the arena showed concert-goers screaming as they made their way out amid a sea of pink balloons.

"Everybody was screaming and crying and there was a smell of burning," 'Emmerdale' actress Isabel Hodgins, who had attended the concert, told Sky News.

"It smelled of burning and there was quite a lot of smoke as we were leaving.

Shocked concert-goers console one another after the blast. Photo: PA
Shocked concert-goers console one another after the blast. Photo: PA

"It was a terrifying and shocking incident and my heart goes out to anybody who has been hurt," she said.

Police last night set up a victims' bureau for families to establish whether loved ones were safe.

Police gave no details of what might have caused the incident. Police said the explosion was in a hall outside the concert arena.

"Officers are at Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the stadium at 10.30pm this evening," police said.

"Emergency services are at the scene and we are working to establish more information regarding the explosion and will provide further updates as soon as possible."

Irish Independent

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