19 concert-goers slaughtered in blast as terror link probed
‘There was an explosion and a smell of smoke and burning’
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.
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."
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.
"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."