Some 19 people have died and 50 injured after an explosion at the Manchester Arena concert venue, Greater Manchester Police has confirmed.
Witnesses reported hearing a “huge bang” at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig on Monday evening, which police quickly described as a ‘serious incident’.
Footage posted on social media showed people fleeing the 21,000-capacity venue screaming, and the area around the arena was swamped with police and emergency services.
Greater Manchester Police said it was treating the tragedy as a terrorist incident “until police know otherwise”. The Reuters news agency was reporting a suicide bomber is suspected of causing the explosion, citing two US officials.
Police responded to reports of an incident at Manchester Arena. Please stay away from the area. More details to follow….
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 22, 2017
Emergency services responding to serious incident at Manchester Arena. Avoid the area. More details will follow as soon as available
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 22, 2017
Witnesses posted footage of people fleeing the concert venue, with many people screaming.
British Transport Police said the incident took place in foyer of the venue.
“Officers are at Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the stadium at 10.30pm this evening.
“Emergency services are at the scene and we are working to establish more information regarding the explosion and will provide further updates as soon as possible.”
One fan at the concert described how the explosion hit the venue as fans were leaving the building.
Majid Khan, 22, said:
“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 10.40-10.45pm-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.
“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.”
Oliver Jones, 17, who attended with his 19-year-old sister, said:
“The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.
“I seen people running and screaming towards one direction and then many were turning around to run back the other way.”
loud explosion heard inside manchester arena. people who were trying to leave came back screaming. stampede. we’re in the car park safe
— ㅤ (@elljauregui) May 22, 2017
Suzy Mitchell, 26, whose flat is opposite the venue, reported a huge bang rocking the neighbourhood.
She told the Press Association:
“(I) just heard a huge bang from my bed, came out to the front of my apartments (we’re on the top floor so have perfect view) and everyone was running away in big crowds. The bang was so big I heard it from my room which is at the back of the apartment blocks.
“Currently lots of emergency services going to and from. But can’t see anything substantial as of yet except fleeing people and lots of cars.”
Liverpool’s recently elected mayor tweeted his daughters were caught up in the incident, but were safe.
My 2 daughters caught up in the Manchester explosion at the arena. They are thankfully safe, but I fear for others.
— Steve Rotheram (@Steve4LCRmayor) May 22, 2017
At least 10 police cars, five ambulances and two riot vans have been spotted rushing to the scene.
What the fuck just happened in manchester arena?! Explosion everyone has run out, blood and smoke
— Nikki (@LilNikkiLoo) May 22, 2017
Manchester’s Victoria station, which backs onto the arena, has been evacuated and all trains cancelled.
“Emergency services are dealing with an incident at Manchester Arena. As Manchester Victoria is located near the arena, the station has been evacuated and all lines closed.
“Trains are currently unable to run to/from Manchester Victoria. Some trains will be cancelled throughout or start/terminate at alternative stations. Disruption is expected to continue until end of the day.”
A spokesman for American singer Ariana Grande, who was performing at the arena, told the BBC she was okay.