Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman concert in Manchester horrifyingly turns into an explosive bloodbath.
- Two loud explosions just after concert ended
- Suspected terror attack
- Carnage in aftermath of blast
- Mass panic and chaos
- Many youngsters among concert-goers
- Britain on second-highest alert level of “severe”, meaning an attack by militants considered highly likely
The Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena had just ended at 10.30pm local time (5.35am Malaysian time) when two “loud bangs” were heard. British Transport Police said they received reports of an explosion “within the foyer area of the stadium” at 10.35pm.
A witness who attended the pop concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush as thousands of people tried to escape.
“We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming,” concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.
“It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.”
Witnesses reported that many children were at the concert. Videos posted on social media depicted a chaotic scene as concert-goers – many of them young – tried to flee the arena, screaming.
“Ariana Grande had left, the lights had come up, everyone was just getting out of their seats and walking toward the stairs when all of a sudden this huge sound, which sounded like an explosion, went off,” Karen Ford told BBC News.
“A lot of children were there without parents. There was no one to calm them down, so everyone was screaming, crying, pushing,” she said.
The cause of the blast is unknown but North West Counter Terrorism unit is treating it as a possible terrorist incident, sources have told the BBC.
Officers told the BBC there was a second suspect device near where the first explosion occurred. Reporters were moved away from the scene and a controlled explosion has taken place.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe”, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
The biggest indoor arena in Europe, Manchester Arena opened in 1995 and has a capacity of 21,000. It is a popular concert and sporting venue.
Police blocked off roads around Manchester Arena, as helicopters circled the area. All trains from Manchester Victoria station, which is nearby the arena, have stopped running.
Expecting mass casualties, the nearby Wythenshawe Hospital has asked those with less serious injuries to seek treatment elsewhere.
Ariana Grande’s publicist, Joseph Carozza, told the New York Times that the 23-year-old singer is “okay”. Grande has been on the Dangerous Woman international tour since February.