19 dead in Manchester after explosion at Ariana Grande concert
Police have confirmed that least 19 people have died after a blast at a concert venue in Manchester, which police are treating as a terrorist incident, the BBC reported.
“Senior national counter-terrorism officers are assembling in London. Early estimates put fatalities at Manchester Arena in double figures,” a BBC reporter said on Twitter.
Thousands of people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert on Tuesday night at around 10.30pm ( 5.30am Singapore time).
Greater Manchester Police said more than 50 people were injured, later confirming that 19 had died. The venue has a capacity of around 20,000.
Ambulances raced to the scene in the city centre, the surrounding area was evacuated and a cordon set up. People were urged to evacuate the busy Victoria Railway Station close to the arena, with all trains halted.
Police confirmed in an update the incident took place outside the venue, not in the foyer as previously reported.
One concertgoer described to local media that she heard a single bang, and people shouted it’s a bomb. That sparked panic, she said, with people, many hysterical, just running away from the scene. She said she feared many people, some children, could have been crushed in the stampede for the exit.
“It was just a feeling of panic,” she said.
Another eye-witness said many people were crying, with parents desperately clinging onto their children. There was a smell of burning and smoke, said another fan at the concert.
Concert-goer Josh Elliott, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "A bang went off and everyone stopped and screamed... we basically hit the deck."
Describing the immediate aftermath: "It was bedlam… horrific. We got up when we thought it was safe and got out as quickly as possible. People were just crying and in tears... police cars were everywhere."
A large area of Manchester city centre, just a few hundred meters from the arena, was destroyed in 1996 by a bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army.