Manchester Arena: 19 dead after explosion at Ariana Grande concert – latest updates

manchester


Powered by Guardian.co.uk This article titled “Manchester Arena: 19 dead after explosion at Ariana Grande concert – latest updates” was written by Claire Phipps (now) and Kevin Rawlinson (earlier), for theguardian.com on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 05.24 UTC

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, who will attend this morning’s emergency Cobra meeting, has added to the tributes to emergency services:

This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view.

I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively; they have done an excellent job.

Later on this morning I will be attending Cobra, chaired by the prime minister, to collect more information, to find out more, about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.

The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police.

But I have two further things to add.

The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.

This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society. Its intention was to sow fear; its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.

One of the missing concert-goers whose photograph is being widely shared on social media is Olivia Campbell, a teenager who attended the concert as part of a birthday present for her friend, Adam, who is also missing.

Her mother, Charlotte, told CNN she last spoke to her daughter around 8.30pm, several hours before the blast:

It’s the most horrible feeling ever to know your daughter is there and you can’t find her, and you don’t know if she’s dead or alive.

I don’t know how people can do this to innocent children.

She said Adam and Olivia had “done nothing but talk about” the concert in the past few days:

They’re normal teenage children who were going to see their favourite artist and it’s ended in absolute carnage.

All election campaigning suspended

Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that Labour will join the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and SNP in suspending campaigning for the 8 June general election.

In a statement this morning, the Labour leader says:

I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester last night. My thoughts are with family and friends of those who have died and been injured.

Today the whole country will grieve for the people who have lost their lives.

I have spoken with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, who has fully briefed me on the operational response in the city.

I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services for their bravery and professionalism in dealing with last night’s appalling events.

I have spoken with the prime minister and we have agreed that all national campaigning in the general election will be suspended until further notice.

What we know so far

  • At least 19 people have been killed and around 5o injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
  • Investigators say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until police know otherwise”.
  • The blast was reported to have taken place outside the arena, in the public foyer, shortly after 10.30pm. North West ambulance services said 60 ambulances were dispatched to the arena, with 59 people transferred to six hospitals across Greater Manchester, and a number of “walking wounded” treated at the scene.
  • No identities of those killed or injured have been confirmed. No arrests have been made.
  • The prime minister, Theresa May, will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at 9am on Tuesday. In an overnight statement, May said:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.

  • Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron also expressed condolences. Campaigning for June’s general election has been suspended.
  • Ariana Grande, who was not hurt in the explosion, which occurred just moments after her show finished, tweeted that she was

“broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

  • A large area around the arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled for the whole of Tuesday. Police have asked people to stay away from the area.
  • British Transport Police said extra officers, some armed, would be on patrol today.
  • Greater Manchester police has set up a hotline for those concerned about relatives or friends who might have been caught up in the Manchester explosion: 0161 856 9400.

CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, is reporting that Chinese president Xi Jinping has sent a message to the Queen expressing his “sincere condolences” to those killed and injured in the explosion in Manchester and to their families.

“The Chinese people are firmly standing together with the British people at this difficult time,” Xi told the Queen, according to a brief announcement by the channel.

Updated

Health workers visiting Manchester have offered to pitch in to help care for those injured in an explosion at a concert in the city, Press Association reports:

NHS staff attending a conference in the city offered support to local hospitals treating the wounded.

North West Ambulance NHS Trust sent 60 ambulances to the scene of the suspected terror attack. It said 59 casualties had been taken to nearby hospitals and a number of walking wounded were treated at the scene.

Greater Manchester Police said that the injured were being treated at six local hospitals.

Kirsty Withers, a theatre clinical manager at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) NHS Foundation Trust, offered assistance to Manchester Royal Infirmary online, writing: “We are visiting for a health conference from morecambe bay trust tomorrow 3 Theatre ODPs available if needed.”

Stuart Hosking-Durn, an emergency preparedness, resilience and response professional with UHMB, also used Twitter to offer help, posting: “do you need extra hands, we have staff in Manchester, have ID and can attend.”

Mancunian GP Faizan Awan tweeted: “If you need any help doing clinical work either on wards or minors, let me know. Can be with you in 10 minutes.”

A reminder that Greater Manchester police has set up a hotline for those concerned about relatives or friends who might have been caught up in the Manchester explosion.

It is 0161 856 9400.

Police are also encouraging anyone who needs assistance in the area to find officers at the Etihad Stadium:

Updated

World leaders have reacted with horror to the news that the incident is a suspected terror attack.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, said:

This incident, this attack, is especially vile especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers. This is an attack on innocence. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children. This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted:

Bill English, the prime minister of New Zealand, said:

People have lost their young ones in this. So our condolences go out to any families who have suffered from this … It is devastating for parents if their young ones go off to entertainment, no one expects them to lose their lives in such a cruel and unpredictable way.

Assistant chief constable Robin Smith of the British Transport Police (BTP) says extra officers, including armed officers, will be visible today in the wake of the Manchester explosion:

As the public would expect in response to an incident such as this, extra BTP officers will be on patrol at key railway stations as well as on trains around the country. Throughout the day, commuters can expect to see additional officers on their journey. This will include both armed and unarmed officers.

My officers are there to reassure concerned members of the public and we’d ask people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 123.

Until known otherwise, police are treating this as a terrorist incident. Incidents such as this will undoubtedly shock the nation, however, it is essential we stand together in unity against those who try to disrupt our lives.

Manchester Victoria station remains closed, with services being heavily disrupted or suspended, we continue to urge people to avoid the area whilst the recovery efforts continue. We advise morning commuters to check with Transport for Greater Manchester, National Rail Enquiries and Northern before travelling.

Here are those links:

The map shows the location of Manchester Arena; Victoria station, which is adjacent to the venue, remains closed with all trains services cancelled throughout Tuesday.

Manchester explosion map

Updated

Our latest report is here; these are the key developments:

At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured after what is being investigated as a suspected suicide bombing of a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.

The horror unfolded at around 10.30pm on Monday at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande, whose music is popular with children and teenagers.

The attack, which took place in the foyer area of the arena, left hundreds of people fleeing in terror, with young people at the concert separated from their parents in the chaos. It left carnage inside the concert venue, with medics describing treating wounds consistent with shrapnel injury.

Initial examination of the scene around the explosion has prompted police to investigate whether a suicide bomber was responsible, the Guardian understands.

The hunt for those behind the attack involves the police counter-terrorism network and Britain’s domestic security service MI5.

If confirmed as a terrorist attack the death toll would make it the worst event of its kind in Britain since the 7/7 bombing in 2005, which hit London’s transport network, killing 52 people.

This brief video explainer sets out what we know so far about the explosion that has killed 19 people:

What we know so far about the Manchester Arena attack

Our North of England editor is at Manchester Royal infirmary, where some of the wounded are being treated:

MRI accident and emergency department is in “complete lockdown” according to staff. “It’s a crime scene,” said one, pointing to police forensics officers who are going in and out of the hospital with clear plastic evidence bags.

Police officers are guarding the doors, behind two red signs saying “major incident – no entry”. As ambulances began to arrive around midnight, staff cleared A&E of all patients unconnected to the Arena blast.

Throughout the night relatives have arrived to see if their loved ones are here. Some have found them. Others get back in their car or taxi and check the next hospital.

MANCHESTER, 23 May 2017 - A fleet of ambulances arriving at Manchester Victoria railway station and arena where two suspected bomb explosions are reported to have killed at least 19 concert goers as they left a performance by Ariana Grande. Christopher Thomond for The Guardian.

Ambulances arriving at Manchester Arena on Monday night. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The Scottish National party was due to unveil its election manifesto on Tuesday; this has now been postponed.

SNP leader and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon will instead chair a meeting of the devolved government’s resilience committee.

A statement from the first minister said:

My thoughts are with the victims, their families and all those who have been affected by this barbaric attack in Manchester.

The Scottish government is working with Police Scotland and the UK government to ensure that we have a full understanding of the developing situation.

I will convene a meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee this morning to receive an update and to consider any implications for Scotland.

Police say they are currently treating the explosion as a suspected terrorist attack.

If it is terrorism, it would be the deadliest attack in the UK since the 7 July 2005 bombings in London in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people, as well as themselves, on three underground trains and a bus.

In March this year, Khalid Masood killed five people in Westminster before being shot dead by a police officer.

North West ambulance services says 60 ambulances attended Manchester Arena in the wake of the blast.

It previously confirmed that 59 people were taken to hospitals across Greater Manchester, with some “walking wounded” treated at the scene.

Police have said that 19 people are confirmed to have died, with around 50 injured.

Ariana Grande: ‘I don’t have words’

The explosion happened moments after the end of a concert at Manchester Arena by Ariana Grande.

Grande, who was not hurt in the blast, has now tweeted that she is “broken” by news of the casualties:

Ariana Grande’s manager Scooter Braun has said “our hearts are broken” following the suspected terrorist attack that took place after her concert at Manchester Arena:

Updated

Residents of Manchester have mobilised in the hours after the attack, with offers of help for stranded and injured concertgoers flooding Twitter.

Victoria train station was closed in the wake of the incident, and was expected to remain closed throughout Tuesday, leaving many people stuck in the city centre without a way home. As many as 21,000 people – many of whom were children and teenagers – were at the concert.

Using the trending hashtag #roomformanchester, locals offered spare bedrooms, cups of tea and rides to people caught up in the attack.

Taxi drivers reportedly converged on the city offering free lifts to people in need.

Many people have yet to locate family and friends not seen since the concert. I’ve just spoken to a family from the Philippines searching without success for a missing loved one at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The 17-year-old girl, who asked not to be named, said she was looking for her mum, last seen in the post-explosion chaos. She and her auntie were with two Mancunian women searching local hospitals. They know her mum’s boyfriend was injured and has been located, but the mum is missing.

They asked not to be named in case they worried family back home. But the teenager said: “When the concert ended we heard a really big explosion, there was smoke coming out.”

Eyewitness Joe Gregory posted footage on Twitter that appears to show the explosion in the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande. Gregory said he had been waiting outside the arena for his girlfriend, who was attending the concert.

Dashcam footage apparently shows Manchester explosion

Greater Manchester chief constable: full statement

Here is the full update from Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins:

I can confirm the details of events tonight that we currently know. At around 10.33pm last night we received reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena in the city centre. It was at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

Currently we have 19 people confirmed to have died and around 50 people injured.

The injured are being treated at six hospitals across Greater Manchester. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected and we are doing all we can to support them.

Officers from GMP and emergency services are working at the scene and are supporting those affected. We are coordinating the response from GMP headquarters.

An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. It is 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter-terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners.

This is clearly a concerning time for people but we are doing all we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected and gather information about what has happened tonight. As you will understand, we are still receiving information and updates, so will provide more details when we have a clearer picture.

I want to thank people for their support and would ask them to remain vigilant and if they have any concerns report them in confidence to us on the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789321.

It is important people avoid the area so that we can effectively deal with the incident.

Armed police officers stand near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, in northern England, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Armed police officers near the Manchester Arena. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Updated

The US department of homeland security has issued a statement saying it is “closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena” and that there could be “increased security” in public places and music events in the US:

We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

US citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness. We encourage any affected US citizens who need assistance to contact the US embassy in London and follow department of state guidance.

At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the UK in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident.

The North West ambulance service says it has taken 59 casualties from Manchester Arena to hospitals across the city.

It says it also treated “a number of walking wounded on scene”.

Police press conference

Greater Manchester police is holding an update to brief the press and public on the incident.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins says reports were received at 10.33pm of an explosion.

He says 19 people have died, with a further 50 people injured and being treated at hospitals across Greater Manchester.

He says an emergency number has been set up for those worried about loved ones: 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information …

This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can.

He says police are working with other officials to investigate the circumstances of the explosion.

He asks people to avoid the area around the arena while the investigation is ongoing.

With campaigning for June’s general election understandably suspended, politicians have been responding to the events in Manchester.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said:

My thoughts are with all those affected by this barbaric act. The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging, but I am proud of the police and first responders who reacted to this tragic incident so swiftly.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:

Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool city region metro mayor, said his daughters had been at the venue:

Police said they were dealing with a possible terror incident at the Manchester Arena, with witnesses claiming to have heard an explosion around 10.40pm.

Sources said the the initial theory was that a suicide bomber was behind the suspected explosion, which took place as revellers, many young, were leaving. It was feared the casualty toll may rise.

Counter-terrorism officials were assessing what caused the explosion. Officers from the police and the domestic security service MI5 were part of the investigation.

The prime minister, Theresa May, will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee on Tuesday morning.

A statement from 10 Downing Street confirmed that police are currently treating the incident at Manchester Arena as an “appalling terrorist attack”.

Some very poignant observations from reporters at the scene. Many of those at the concert were children and teenagers.

What we know so far

We are awaiting a fresh update from Greater Manchester police. In the meantime, here is what has been verified:

  • At least 19 people have been killed and around 5o injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
  • The blast was reported to have taken place outside the arena, in the public foyer, shortly after 10.30pm.
  • Investigators say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until police know otherwise”.
  • No identities of those killed or injured have been confirmed.
  • A large area around the arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled.
  • A controlled explosion carried out by police in nearby Cathedral gardens turned out not to be suspicious.
  • Prime minister Theresa May said:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.

  • Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron also expressed condolences. Campaigning for June’s general election has been suspended.

Our North of England editor is at a hospital where the wounded are being treated:

I’ve just spoken to 17-year-old Ellie Ward with her mother outside Manchester Royal Infirmary. Her 64-year-old grandad was caught in the blast while waiting for her and her friend to come out of the concert. They said he was in the corridor by the merchandise stand in the tunnels underneath the tiered seating when he was hit by falling glass.

Ellie said after visiting him:

He’s OK but he’s cut his cheek, they said he had severed an artery. A lot of glass shattered on him.

He said only realised what had happened when he felt the side of his head and it was bleeding. He was underneath the seats, by the merchandise, waiting for us to come out when we heard a massive shudder. We knew something was wrong.

Theresa May statement

The prime minister has responded with a statement:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.

Police at the scene say there are still a lot of people in the area – the capacity of Manchester Arena is 21,000.

Buses have been pressed into service to ferry people out of the area; some local taxi companies are also offering free rides for those affected. Rail services have been cancelled.

Updated

The security minister, Ben Wallace, has called for vigilance. He calls the incident an attack; police have said they are treating it as possible terrorism, but we are waiting for confirmation.

Wallace said:

In the light of the attack in Manchester tonight, please be vigilant and if you see anything suspicious call the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789123.

My thoughts are with all the victims of the incident tonight and our emergency services who are out there tending wounded and keeping us safe.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has tweeted his condolences:

Facebook has activated its safety check for people who are at or near the arena to let family and friends know they are safe.

Elena Semino, from Lancaster, was with her husband waiting for her daughter by the arena’s ticket office when the explosion went off. She has a wound on her neck and her leg is bleeding. She hasn’t been seen by a doctor yet as her priority was finding her daughter – which she now has.

“My husband and I were standing against the wall, luckily, and all of a sudden there was this thing. I can’t even describe it. There was this heat on my neck and when I looked up there were bodies everywhere.”

Her husband stayed behind to help an injured woman and has a minor injury. She ran to find her daughter in the auditorium.

Semino’s 17-year-old daughter Natalie and her friends said the performance had just come to an end when the explosion went off. “It went off and then there was a moment’s silence and then there were screams,” says Megan Ryder, 19. They say security guards initially tried to calm them down, saying it was a popped balloon or a technical difficulty.

E Police Respond To An Incident At Manchester ArenaMANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Emergency services at Victoria Railway Station, close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Emergency services at Victoria railway station. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Here’s a video in which it’s possible to hear the controlled explosion carried out by Greater Manchester police on a suspicious device in Cathedral gardens, just minutes from the arena. Police have since confirmed that the item was abandoned clothing and now not thought to be suspicious.

#RoomForManchester appears to have emerged on social media as the hashtag people are rallying around. It is an offer of spaces to stay the night for those who were at the concert who can’t easily get home.

Transport away from the area will be difficult, because Manchester Arena is right next to Manchester Victoria station, which, due to ongoing emergency service activity, has been closed.

More eyewitness reports from our north of England reporter. The Guardian is not publishing the names of children involved:

One 16-year-old boy says he and his two friends had come from Lincoln for this evening’s show. They were sat next to the stage when they heard explosions as the performance came to an end. “A lot of people are saying that there were two explosions, but we all heard three,” he says.
“It sounded like a gun shot. At first we thought it as a balloon, but then we felt the vibrations and stuff so we realised it wasn’t a balloon. Our parents heard the explosion from [their] hotel.”
A 15-year-old girl tells the Guardian: “There were people falling over the chairs trying to get away and when we were running out we saw blood up the walls.”

Here is Tuesday’s Guardian front page, reporting the news that 19 people have been killed:

Greater Manchester police are warning people not to be alarmed as officers carry out a controlled explosion:

A statement from Manchester Arena says the incident took place outside the venue – earlier reports had suggested it happened in the foyer. It’s very common for details to be conflicting in the immediate aftermath of an incident like this; we will confirm as soon as we can.

The statement reads:

We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night.

The incident took place outside the venue in a public space.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.

Full police statement

Greater Manchester police have confirmed that 19 people have died and around 50 are injured:

Just before 10.35pm on Monday 22 May 2017, police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena.

So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured.

This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.

Manchester suspected terror incident: what we know so far

Here’s a summary of what we know so far after the incident in Manchester this evening:

  • Police have confirmed that at least 19 people have been killed in a suspected terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
  • Officers said a further 50 were injured.
  • One explosion was reported to have hit the foyer of the building at about 10:30pm, British Transport police said.
  • Manchester Arena said the incident took place “outside the venue in a public space”.
  • Multiple witnesses said they heard an explosion, with one telling the Guardian the blast shook the building.

19 people have died, police confirm

Police treating as possible terrorist attack

The North West counter-terrorism unit has said it is treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack.

Our north of England reporter is at the scene:

I’m on Trinity Way, just around the corner from the arena. All roads into this part of the city have been blocked off, but there is still a small group of members of the public watching the police vans driving in and out. Some are wearing pyjamas and live in apartments in the area. They said they were woken by loud bangs of what they presumed were bombs going off.

There are armed police standing by the corner of the road leading to the arena entrance and a bomb disposal van drove through the cordon about half an hour ago.

Small groups of people who appear to have been at the concert have been emerging wrapped in blankets. One woman was shaking uncontrollably.

I’m picking up the live blog and we will continue to have rolling updates throughout the night.

So far we know from Greater Manchester police that an unspecified number of people have been killed after what officers are calling a “serious incident” at the Manchester Arena, at the close of a concert by Ariana Grande.

We will continue to have verified developments here.

The ambulance service have warned people only to call “for life threatening emergencies” and said a “large number of resources” were at the incident.

A barman at the nearby Steven Charles Snooker Club, who gave his name to the Press Association as Tyler, said he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood.

We’ve had a few people in with panic attacks and in all kinds of disarray. We’ve got four girls here – trying to get them sorted to get picked up. There was a gentleman on the floor with his leg all bleeding and woman with blood down one side of her face.

We felt something but didn’t know what it was – there was a sound like thunder. One girl had a panic attack and another had streaming tears, a woman had a heart attack just outside.

British Transport police officers are among those responding to the incident at Manchester Arena, following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the arena at 10.30pm this evening.

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.

Updated

Jade Baynes, 18, from Hull, was told to run from the area by armed police after leaving the concert arena. She said she heard loud bangs and what sounded like gunshots just after the entertainment had finished.

There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out. An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm but leave as quickly as possible.

Jade and her friend Jasmine Mia, 21, also from Hull, said there appeared to be some sort of commotion in the first tier of the arena, with a number of stewards stood around the seats.

Armed police have now swamped the streets around the arena and police are moving members of the public away from the area.

Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig.

Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Updated

Greater Manchester police say that details of a casualty bureau will be available soon. We’ll share them as soon as we get them.

Ambulances head towards arena

Footage showed lines of ambulances heading towards the venue, while a witness, Suzy Mitchell, said it appeared the main surrounding road had been closed.

Oliver Jones, 17, was at the concert with his 19-year-old sister.

I was in the toilet and heard a loud bang just after the concert had finished and people had started to leave.

The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run. I seen people running and screaming towards one direction and then many were turning around to run back the other way.

Security was running out as well as the fans and concert goers. Reports of blood and people injured.

In so much shock and panic. You see this on the news all the time and never expect it to happen to you. I just had to run and make sure me and my sister were safe.

Updated

Erin McDougle, 20, from Newcastle said: “There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show. At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.”

A group of young men from Sheffield said they had seen at least five people covered in blood and others being carried out by bouncers. “Ariana Grande had just gone behind the curtain and the lights came up when there was this massive bang and a big cloud of smoke. I saw five people with blood all down them,” said one.

Sophie Tedd, 25, from Darlington, said the noise and smoke seemed to come from the tiered seating stage right. “We were sitting on that side then suddenly there was this big bang in the block next to us. Everyone started screaming and we nearly got trampled on. There was a burning smell.”

Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena

Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Updated

‘Number of fatalities’ in Manchester incident

Police in Manchester confirm that an as-yet unspecified number of people have been killed in Manchester, as well as other injured.

My colleague, Helen Pidd, is at the scene. She sends these updates:

Majid Khan, 22, was also at the concert when the incident happened. He said:

I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10.45pm-ish a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

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 Trinity Way and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could.

Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.

Updated

Suzy Mitchell, 26, whose flat is opposite the venue, reported a huge bang rocking the neighbourhood. She told the Press Association:

(I) just heard a huge bang from my bed, came out to the front of my apartments (we’re on the top floor so have perfect view) and everyone was running away in big crowds.

The bang was so big I heard it from my room which is at the back of the apartment blocks. Currently lots of emergency services going to and from. But can’t see anything substantial as of yet except fleeing people and lots of cars.

Police in Manchester have responded to a “serious incident” at the city’s arena, amid unconfirmed reports online of an explosion.

Greater Manchester police warned people to stay away from Manchester Arena while they dealt with the issue. Officers did not release any further details on what has happened. A concert by Ariana Grande was being staged at the time.

Hannah Dane, who was at the concert, told the Guardian there was “quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester arena and it shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out”.

She added: “As we got outside, lots of police came racing towards the area and the whole of the Victoria train station was surrounded by police.” She said there were people “screaming and crying everywhere shouting that there’s a bomb and also people were saying there’s a shooter”.

Dane added that police were “blocking off roads in the area. There are sirens zooming everywhere.”

Updated

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

The Guardian

The Guardian View my other posts