UPDATED: At least 22 people have died and 59 others were injured after an explosion was reported outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in England, on Monday night. Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until we know otherwise,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The explosions — witnesses report hearing two or three — took place at around 10:30 p.m. local time as Grande’s concert was ending and, in a characteristic flourish, pink balloons were dropped from the ceiling. Video of panicked concertgoers shrieking and running has appeared on Twitter, along with reports of an “explosion” and injured fans.
A rep for Grande’s label tells Variety that the singer is “okay.”
In a post on its Facebook page, Manchester Arena said “the incident took place outside the venue in a public space.” Police told reporters several hours after the incident that they believe the attack was carried out by one person, and that the attacker died at the scene.
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY
— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
One concertgoer, 22-year-old Majid Khan, told The Independent: “I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10,45 p.m.-ish, 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 Trinity Way, and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could,” he added.
“Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there,” Khan continued.
The venue, which is located above Victoria train station in England’s second-largest city, has a capacity of 21,000. An alert from the British Transport Police says one of the explosions took place in the foyer, or the entrance area, of the arena at around 10:30 p.m. local time.
The New York Times spoke with Gary Walker, who attended the show with his wife and two daughters. He said he “heard a massive bang and saw a flash” as the concert ended, then realized his wife had been injured, suffering a stomach wound and possibly a broken leg. He said he saw “metal nuts on the floor.” His wife was taken to a nearby hospital.
“We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident,” Live Nation, the concert’s promoter, said in a statement. A rep for New York’s Madison Square Garden, which, like Manchester Arena, is located above a major train station, told Variety, “Madison Square Garden has increased security measures, including a greater police presence, and is continuing to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure we remain informed of any potential concerns.”
Variety has reached out to Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, for further updates.
See video of the chaos inside the arena below:
See more photos from Manchester below.
|Scene Outside the Ariana Grande Concert Following explosion|