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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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AT LEAST 19 people have died and 50 have been injured after an explosion at a concert by popstar Ariana Grande in Manchester.

Here’s what’s known so far:

  • Greater Manchester Police say 19 people are confirmed dead after the explosion at Manchester Arena shortly after the concert ended
  • A further 50 people have been injured
  • Police say that it is being treated as a terrorist incident
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has described the attack as ‘appalling’ and said her thoughts are with the victims
  • Emergency services are at the scene and people have been warned to avoid the area

The cause of the incident, and the exact details of what happened, are still unclear. This tweet from a person who attended the concert shows a large number of people trying to leave the venue:

Greater Manchester Police have repeated their warning for people to stay away from the area. Emergency services are still at the scene.

The BBC says there are conflicting reports about what exactly happened, with witnesses reporting hearing either one or two explosions after the concert. A man who lives half a mile away from the Manchester Arena has told Sky News that he heard a bang from his home.

A woman who attended the concert with her daughter has told BBC News that a ‘huge sound’ that was ‘like an explosion’ happened shortly after Ariana Grande left the stage.

Karen Ford said that the scene was  ’chaos’ as people rushed to leave the Manchester Arena. She described it as “a huge sound in the left hand corner” of the venue.

An eyewitness has told Sky News that the explosion happened as the lights came back on and concert-goers were leaving the arena.

The eyewitness, identified as Aislinn, says that many people initially assumed the noises came from exploding balloons.

Amid the chaos, there are many reports on social media of people in the area around the Manchester Arena providing help and support for the people who were attending the concert.

Eyewitness Andy Holey tells the BBC that his wife and child were at the gig. He says he was taken off his feet by an explosion near a ticket office. He says he saw “several” bodies.

A statement from the British Transport Police:

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.

A spokesperson for Ariana Grande says that the singer is unhurt.

 

Photographs from PA show armed police outside the Manchester Arena in the last hour.

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Here’s what we know so far: 

- Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that there are a number of fatalities following reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena, moments after a concert by Ariana Grande had ended. It is not yet known how many people have died or been injured.

- Witnesses have reported chaotic scenes as concert-goers tried to flee the scene. People at the concert have reported being lifted off their feet by the force of an explosion.

- One eye-witness has told the BBC that he saw ’20 or 30′ casualties in the foyer area at the concert.

- Emergency service are still at the scene.

The hashtag #RoomforManchester has started trending on Twitter as people living in the area have taken to social media to offer a place to stay to the concert-goers who have been unable to get home after the concert. Many of the people attending the concert were teenagers.

The latest update from the Greater Manchester Police:

The Manchester Evening News reports that Wythenshawe Hospital has told patients it is expecting “mass casualties”.

Emmerdale actress Isabel Hodgins told Sky News that people were “panicking and pushing up stairs”. She said the scene was chaotic:

As we got out, everyone was screaming and the corridor smelled of burning and smoke.

There are a large number of videos on social media showing the panic in the Manchester Arena as people tried to get out.

Eyewitness accounts: 

“A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” concertgoer Majid Khan, 22, told Press Association.

“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.”

Added Oliver Jones, 17: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”

The BBC reports that the Northwest Counter Terrorism unit is treating the incident as a “possible” terrorist incident. 

Another eyewitness account: 

Robert Tempkin, 22, from Middlesbrough, told the BBC: “Everyone was screaming and running, there were coats and people’s phones on the floor. People just dropped everything.

“Some people were screaming they’d seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped.

“There were lots of ambulances. I saw somebody being treated. I couldn’t tell what had happened to him.”

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Another photograph from Press Association shows police officers and concert-goers outside the venue a short time ago.

The latest update from the Greater Manchester Police:

A mother who was at the concert with her daughter told Sky News that they had left the gig shortly before the end to avoid the rush at the venue car park.

“As I turned around, boom, one loud noise. So for the first 10 seconds we thought about it and we just walked with haste and a gentleman said ‘Run!’ so we ran. We walked quickly down the stairs, that’s when people were flooding through the concert doors, and the sound was definitely coming from the main foyer where the guests normally enter through and present their tickets.”

She said that “as soon as you got to the car you could smell the burning” when they got to the car park.

More on that statement from the Greater Manchester Police: for the first time, the police have said that what happened is being treated as a terrorist incident “until police know otherwise”.

The BBC reports that Home Office and anti-terrorist officials will be meeting in Whitehall to discuss a response to tonight’s attack.

Just in: The BBC reports that police say there is a second suspect device around the Manchester Arena and a controlled explosion is to be carried out shortly.

A controlled explosion has just been carried out on a second device close to the Manchester Arena.

The explosion was carried out just over 100 metres from the entrance to the venue.

The Irish embassy in London has given two phone numbers for anyone who is concerned about any Irish citizens in Manchester tonight.

You can ring the embassy directly at 0207 235 2171 if you’re in the UK, or else ring +353 1 408 2000 if you are in Ireland or elsewhere.

Here’s what we know so far: 

  • 19 people have died and at least 50 have been injured, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.
  • The incident is being treated as a terrorist incident, unless police get information proving otherwise.
  • Reuters reports that a suicide bomber is suspected of carrying out the attack, according to two US officials. Police in Manchester have not commented on this.
  • A press conference will be held by police at 2am.

“A terrible night for our great city” 

The mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has paid tribute to the victims of tonight’s attack. “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones,” he said in a tweet.

British security minister Ben Wallace said:

In the light of the attack in Manchester tonight, please be vigilant and if you see anything suspicious call the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789123.

My thoughts are with all the victims of the incident tonight and our emergency services who are out there tending wounded and keeping us safe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says her thoughts are with those affected and their families “in what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack”.

On a terrible night, one of the most difficult things in the past few hours has been the large number of parents posting photographs on social media asking if anyone has seen their child who attended the concert.

A large number of the concert-goers are believed to have been teenagers and people in their early-20s.

Some hotels in the area close to the venue have been taking in unaccompanied children who have been left stranded, giving them a place to stay and a way to charge their phones so that they can contact their families.

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue has released a statement urging people not to dial 999 tonight unless it’s really necessary.

Crew still supporting Greater Manchester Police and North West Ambulance Service at the scene of this horrific incident – please don’t dial 999 unless you really need us.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected and especially the families who lost their loved ones tonight – utterly heartbreaking.

Some more photographs from Press Association show the scene outside the venue in the past few minutes.

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Manchester Arena incident Source: Peter Byrne/PA

Manchester Arena incident Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Guardian is reporting that campaigning for the British general election has been suspended.

“We are heartbroken”

The Manchester Evening News has been retweeting information on missing people in Manchester all night, using the #MissinginManchester hashtag in a bid to help reunite people who were separated at the concert or who haven’t been able to contact their family members/friends.

The front page of tomorrow’s newspaper sums up the chaos and devastation at the venue after the attack.

From a Labour councillor in Manchester:

Greater Manchester Police have just held a brief press conference to give an update on what happened.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said that police received reports of an explosion at 10.33pm.

19 people are confirmed to have died in the attack, he said, and around 50 casualties are being treated at six hospitals across Greater Manchester.

“My thoughts are very much with those that have been injured and lost their lives, and their loved ones at this terrible time. We are doing all that we can to support them.”

“We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information.”

“This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected as we gather information about what happened”.

He said police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the explosion and will provide further details when there’s a clearer picture.

Police in Manchester have set up an emergency number for anyone who had a family member or friend at the concert.

And a reminder of the phone numbers for anyone concerned about Irish people in Manchester after the explosion.

Speaking of the Irish embassy: Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall, has said his “deepest sympathies” are with the victims.

Theresa May will chair an emergency meeting of Cobra, the committee which meets to deal with national crises in Britain, at around 9am today.

Eyewitness: “Someone came through the doors then bang,” a man called Gary Walker has told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Walker was waiting to pick up his daughter from the concert and said he was “metres away” from the explosion. His wife was injured in the attack, suffering a stomach wound and a possible broken leg.

Ariana Grande’s manager has praised the “selfless service” of the emergency workers in Manchester “who rushed towards danger to help save lives”.

“We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families, and all those affected in your hearts and prayers,” Scooter Braun tweeted.

Many of the reports from hospitals in Manchester this morning mention the young age of many of the victims. Ariana Grande’s fanbase ranges from young teenagers to people in their early 20s, which was reflected in the attendance at the concert.

Manchester has been pulling together in the hours since the attack.

Social media has been filled with residents offering to help concert-goers with places to stay, cups of tea, lifts home, and sockets to charge mobile phones which have died.

Bus drivers and taxi drivers have been offering lifts to people stranded at the venue, after public transport was shut down. The train station attached to the Manchester Arena has closed until further notice.

A total of 60 ambulances attended the Manchester Arena last night, the NHS’s North West Ambulance Trust has confirmed.

We’re going to wrap up this liveblog for now, but we will be starting a new liveblog shortly tracking the reaction and the fall-out from last night’s attack.

In the mean time, you can follow Greater Manchester Police here for further updates throughout this morning on what has been a horrific night for the city of Manchester.

If you have any thoughts, you can mail us at tips@thejournal.ie or leave a comment under the new liveblog which will be starting shortly. Thanks for reading.

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