Police suspect a terror attack at the Ariana Grande, pop music concert at the Manchester Arena in England. The current death count is at least 19, while more than 50 others were injured in the blast. Authorities are calling the incident “an appalling suicide attack”. Ariana has a huge adolescent following, and many at the concert were young people.
Manchester Arena, opened in 1995, has a capacity of 21,000 seats. It’s not yet clear how full the arena was at the time of the incident. British authorities told U.S. officials a body found at the blast site indicates the attack was likely a suicide mission.
A representative of the singer said Ariana Grande was not injured in the incident, and another singer, hiphop star Bianca Landrau, also known as Bia, was also performing at the arena, and she tweeted her fans: “Guys we are okay!”
Immediately after the incident, all train lines to the Manchester Victoria station were closed, and Northern Railway evacuated the station.
Concert guest Ivo Delgado told NBC that the concert had just wrapped up when “I just heard a loud bang. People started screaming and going to the other side of the arena.” Delgado said he saw one person with blood on his face.
Mayor Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said on Twitter that his two daughters had attended the concert, but that both girls were safe.
Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned her thoughts were with those affected by “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”
Police suspect the device was a nail-filled explosive and at least one explosion occurred in the foyer near the front of the arena.
Gary Walker was at the concert with his wife and their two daughters, and “heard a massive bang and saw a flash”. He turned to his wife to find her with a stomach wound and maybe a broken leg. Walked laid down with her and said he saw “metal nuts on the floor”, indicating possible shrapnel from the bomb.
One witness waited outside to pick up his wife and daughter said the “whole building shook, [there was] carnage everywhere” and said the explosion seemed to come from the area of the ticket sales.
Social media was flooded with posts and tweets, some people still looking for loved one separated in the confusion. Many Facebook groups are posting safety checks for members who may live or attended the concert.
Children were separated from parents during the incident, and parents were directed to a nearby Holiday Inn, where children took shelter from the chaos of the event.
Greater Manchester Police are still investigating the incident, and more facts may soon become available.