An Ariana Grande concert in the U.K. ended in tragedy tonight, when an explosion killed 19 people and injured at least 50 others. Concert goers said they heard what sounded like explosions around the end of the show at the Manchester Arena, which was at 10:30 PM local time. Here’s what the Manchester Police had to say in two combined statements that were released on Twitter, where they confirmed they’re treating this as a terrorist attack.
“Emergency services are currently responding to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please AVOID the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene. Details of a casualty bureau will follow as soon as possible. Further details on the incident at Manchester Arena have now been released. Just before 10:35 PM 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.”
The Guardian reports that the explosion reportedly happened in the foyer area of the arena, and not the main event hall, after the concert had ended. Counter-terrorism officials are assessing what could have caused the blast at the Manchester Arena, which holds 21,000 people. The Guardian also spoke to a number of concert-goers, including 22-year-old Majid Khan, who reveals that panic spread through the area once the bomb went off.
“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.”
Another concert-goer, 20-year-old Erin McDougle from Newcastle, said that the house lights were already on, and they knew that the explosion was not part of the show. Another unidentified concert-goer said that Ariana Grande had just walked off the stage and the lights had come on when the explosion happened, stating he saw, “five people with blood all down them.” The U.K.’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted out his sympathy for the victims of this, “Terrible incident in Manchester,” stating that, “My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.” The U.K.’s Liberal Democrat leader Tim Fallon released a statement of his own, which you can read below.
“This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert. “My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news. I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services. This is an attack on innocent people and the nation is united both in its grief and its determination to stand up to this deplorable attack.”
The incident in Manchester came after weeks of heightened terrorist alerts in the U.K., after an attack on Westminster in central London, which targeted the Houses of Parliament, where four people and the attacker died. The attack also comes a year and a half after the Paris attack at the live music venue Bataclan, during a concert for the American metal band Eagles of Death Metal, and less than a year after the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida. Ariana Grande‘s publicist Joseph Carozza revealed that the singer is “OK” and that their team is “further investigating what happened.” Take a look at some of the tweets below from Manchester police and a video from inside the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/gaKASukx9a
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 22, 2017
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY😭 pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— ♡♡ (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017