Deaths confirmed after Manchester Arena blast reports


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Media captionManchester Arena incident after Ariana Grande concert

A number of people have died and others have been injured following a reported explosion at Manchester Arena.

Witnesses said they heard two loud bangs, reported to in the foyer, after a pop concert by singer Ariana Grande.

Greater Manchester Police said there are a “number of confirmed fatalities and others injured”.

The cause of the reported explosion is unknown but the North West Counter Terrorism Unit is treating it as a possible terrorist incident.

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Daniel Sandford said senior counter-terrorism officers are assembling in London and are liaising with the Home Office.

He said early estimates put the number of fatalities in double figures, although these are not confirmed.

Manchester Victoria station, which is close to the concert venue, has been closed and all trains cancelled. British Transport Police say explosion was in the foyer area of Manchester Arena.

Greater Manchester Police tweeted to urge people to stay away from the area.

Manchester explosion: Latest updates

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Media captionFootage shows a string of emergency services vehicles rushing to the scene

‘Screaming and running’

The BBC’s Tim Ashburn, who is at the scene, spoke to some volunteer paramedics who treated the injured for “shrapnel-like injuries”.

A number of eyewitnesses have described the confusion in the aftermath.

Andy Holey, who had gone to the arena to pick up his wife and daughter who had been at the concert, said: “As I was waiting, an explosion went off and it threw me about 30 feet from one set of doors to the other set of doors.

“When I got up I saw bodies lying on the ground. My first thought was to go into the Arena to try to find my family.

“When I couldn’t find them, I went outside with the police and fire and looked through some of the bodies to try and find my wife and daughter.

“I managed to find them eventually and they’re OK.

“It was definitely an explosion and it was some force. It happened near the box office at the entrance to the Arena.”

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Media captionEyewitness Andy says he saw “about 30” people scattered, some of whom “looked dead”

Robert Tempkin, 22, from Middlesbrough, said: “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.”

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Peter Byrne

Josh Elliott, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said he was shocked by news of the fatalities.

“A bang went off and everyone stopped and screamed… we basically hit the deck,” he said

“It was bedlam… it was horrific.

“We got up when we thought it was safe and got out as quickly as possible.

“People were just crying and in tears… police cars were everywhere.

“We just wanted to get out as quickly as possible because we didn’t know what was going on.”


The background – Ian Youngs, BBC News entertainment reporter

Manchester Arena, formerly known as the MEN Arena, is the biggest indoor venue in the city with a capacity of around 18,000 for concerts.

The arena foyer connects with Victoria train and tram station, a major hub on the northern edge of the city centre.

The arena regularly hosts concerts by major stars like Ariana Grande – a 23-year-old American TV teen actress-turned-pop star.

She’s a big draw for young fans, with hits including Problem, featuring Iggy Azalea, which hit number one in the UK in 2014; and Side To Side, featuring Nicki Minaj, which reached number four last year.

She’s currently on a European tour – she’s already played Birmingham and Dublin and is due to be at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday and Thursday.


Michelle Sullivan, from Huddersfield, was attending the concert with her daughters, aged 12 and 15.

“It was really scary,” she said. “Just as the lights have gone down we heard a really loud explosion… Everybody screamed.

“When we got out they just said ‘keep on running, keep on running’.”

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Peter Byrne

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Peter Byrne

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Dave Thompson

Pat Carney, Manchester City Council’s spokesman for the city centre, said the city’s thoughts were with the families of those killed and injured.

“It’s a very easy target – a concert hall where young people are enjoying music,” he said.

“The public are really co-operating by staying away from what is basically now a crime site.

“The world we live in, police and the council have emergency procedures that we practise all the time.

“Obviously everyone in the city is shocked, having seen how young some of these people are

“The police are treating it as a live site, we don’t know if this is the end or there are other incidents in that area… we don’t know at the moment.”



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