- 22 dead in explosion at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
- Manchester police say it was one individual who used improvised explosive device to carry out the attack.
- The attacker is not yet identified but he died in the explosion.
- Police treating event as suspected terrorist incident, with reports saying it could have been a suicide bomber.
- Prime Minister Theresa May said officials are “working to establish the full details” of the incident.
- Ariana Grande tweeted, “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”
At least 22 people have died, some of those children, and 59 others were injured in an explosion at Manchester Arena on Monday evening in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.
The explosion occurred around 10:30 p.m. local time (BST) at an Ariana Grande concert. Chief constable Ian Hopkins from Manchester police says the attacker was one man who acted alone and he was “carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated causing this atrocity.”
Hopkins said investigations are continuing to establish if he was part of a network and there is a detailed forensic search of the area.
The chief constable also appealed to the public to upload any pictures of videos to this service, so it would help the police with its investigation.
Meanwhile, the general election campaign has been suspended “until further notice.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said officials are “working to establish the full details” of the what police believe is an “appalling” terrorist attack.
“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected,” she said in the immediate aftermath of what appeared to be the deadliest incident of terror in Britain since the 2005 London subway bombings.
Manchester police warned residents to avoid the area surrounding the arena, where Grande had just finished a concert. The American singer is safe, according to her spokesperson.
“Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words,” she tweeted later.
Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, followed up with a statement, saying in part: “We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act. We are thankful for the selfless service tonight of Manchester’s first responders who rushed towards danger to help save lives.”
Police detonated a second device in a controlled explosion shortly after the initial event. It was “abandoned clothing” and not a suspicious item.
There are a number of reports, including from Reuters, that the first explosion could have been caused by a suicide bomber, although that was not immediately confirmed by local police. Eyewitnesses have suggested that the bomb could have contained nails and other metal items.
Here’s an eyewitness account of the explosion. He describes a “flash” and smell. He says there were bolts on the floor. #ManchesterArena pic.twitter.com/eTA9gZejew
— Adam McClean (@AdamMcCleanITV) May 23, 2017
The initial explosion caused concertgoers to scramble out of the concert building, and videos posted on social media showed police cars and ambulances rushing to the scene. British transport police said the explosion occurred in the “foyer area,” or lobby, of the Manchester Arena, which has a capacity of 21,000.
Kim Jackson, a witness at the scene, described the incident to Business Insider.
“We had floor seats and were just heading to exit. There was a massive bang from towards the back of the arena from the corridor area,” she said.
“Everyone went silent and then huge crowds of people came running from the back and everyone was screaming and crying. We just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible so we just headed straight for the exit. When we got up to the corridor there was smoke and we could smell burning. We just ran outside and got as far away as we could.”
Speaking to Manchester Evening News, concertgoer Sibion Joyce said: “The concert had ended and she had played her last encore. She went off and the lights came on. Everyone got up to leave. As we did we just heard a loud bang. People were running and people were really scared.”
Trains were canceled to and from Manchester Victoria train station, according to National Rail, while the station approach was reportedly closed by police.
Concertgoers were offered accommodation by locals, with people using the #roomformanchester on Twitter to help those in the city stranded without a place to stay. Meanwhile, a desperate hunt for missing people is underway.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said on Twitter: “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”
Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell added:
The incident comes in the thick of a UK general election campaign, which will be put on hold on Tuesday out of respect for the victims in Manchester.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was one of the first to comment on events, saying his “thoughts are with all those affected.” Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron added: “Deepest condolences to the victims and families in Manchester.”
Video captures the moment of the explosion:
If you look towards the left you see the explosion and hear the bang. I hope to GOD everyone is OK, and so glad Jess and Em are. #manchester pic.twitter.com/q81KHGEJ6E
— Joe Gregory (@JoeAaronGregory) May 22, 2017
Another showed how the blast caused pandemonium inside the Manchester Arena and people ran for safety:
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