Authorities in Manchester, England, are now saying that a “number of confirmed fatalities” have been reported after an explosion occurred at the venue of an Ariana Grande concert. There have also been reports that there were two blasts, not one, but those reports have yet to be corroborated. British authorities believe the incident was a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber.
Fox News reported that British Transport Police have confirmed that an explosion occurred in the foyer of the Manchester Arena around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, just about the time the packed Ariana Grande concert was coming to a close.
The Manchester Arena is the largest indoor venue in Europe. It has a capacity of 21,000.
The Telegraph reported that the number of dead had been confirmed at 19, with at least 50 people injured.
The bombing is being treated as a terrorist incident, according to the Independent, until police have reason to believe otherwise.
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
NBC News has reported that the authorities are treating the Manchester incident as a suicide bombing believed to have occurred outside the arena (which contradicts the Fox News account that the blast or blasts took place inside the venue), the bomb detonated as concertgoers were leaving the show.
The Manchester Arena issued a statement regarding the incident as well, pointing out that the bombing had occurred outside the venue.
— Manchester Arena (@ManchesterArena) May 23, 2017
According to Fox News, Ariana Grande herself was not injured, according to spokesman Joseph Carozza, who characterized the singer as being “okay.” The pop star was in Manchester on her unfortunately named “Dangerous Woman” world tour.
From Fox News: “Witnesses described panic as concertgoers rushed to get out of the arena. Video from inside the arena showed people screaming as they made their way out amid a sea of pink balloons. Some on social media initially suggested that some of the balloons had burst, making a loud noise like a bomb.”
Accounts from concertgoers have added to the confusion. Some are saying they heard one explosion just after Ariana Grande finished her last song, others are saying they heard two explosions at the conclusion of the show.
As was related by CNN (per Deadline), one witness told the cable network she saw 20-30 bodies of people “clearly” dead and that there was “blood everywhere.”
A man named Andy told BBC News (per The Telegraph) that he had been blown roughly 30 feet through the air by the blast. “It’s shocking what happened,” he said. “Just carnage everywhere. There was a good 20 to 30 of them [victims]. Some were young kids, some were disabled people.”
Andy said that he immediately ran back into the arena to see if he could find his wife and daughter. He said he initially could not find them, so he went back outside to check among the victims. “Luckily they weren’t there, I managed to find them outside the arena and got them back to the hotel.”
According to the Independent, emergency services were reportedly at the venue close to Manchester Victoria station, which is located underneath the Manchester Arena, and police helicopters are said to be circling the venue.
Police are currently warning people to stay clear of the arena while investigations are taking place.
A bomb disposal unit was also reported to be at the scene in Manchester.
In the midst of the tragedy, there were also indications of a city pulling together, according to Sky News. Since the trains at Victoria Station were shut down (as a safety precaution) by the suspected terrorist attack, concert-goers were offered shelter by Manchester residents, area taxi drivers are said to have offered free rides, and there were reports that a nearby hotel had taken in dozens of children.
UPDATE: As of May 23, the casualties were listed at 22 dead and 59 injured. As reported by The Inquisitr, a man believed to be the suicide bomber who carried out the attack was identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. By early Tuesday morning, ISIS had claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack.
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]