An explosion at a pop concert in the northern English city of Manchester late Monday night left multiple people dead and an unknown number injured, according to police.
Witnesses interviewed by the BBC reported hearing a loud blast following a performance by American pop singer Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena.
Cell phone video showed chaotic scenes of people screaming and running in the aftermath of the blast. The arena was packed both with attendees and pink balloons that had fallen from the arena’s ceiling during the concert’s final song. Initially, concert-goers said they thought popping balloons had set off a panic.
But witnesses later reported seeing the prone bodies of those who had been injured and killed, as well as others who were streaked with blood and were staggering away from the scene.
The local hospital, Wythenshawe, said it was dealing with “mass casualties.” The local ambulance service advised the public to call only “for life-threatening emergencies.”
There was no immediate indication of what had caused the apparent blast. Heavily armed police and emergency services swarmed the arena.
Many of the concert attendees were teenagers. Witnesses reported that outside the arena, parents were frantically attempting to locate their children. “It was really scary,” Michelle Sullivan, who was attending the concert with her 12- and 15-year-old daughters, told BBC. “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.'”
The singer was “OK,” a spokesman for Grande’s record label told Reuters.
Police urged people to stay away from the arena.
The arena has a capacity of 21,000. Manchester transport police said the explosion occurred in the foyer of the arena.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Griff Witte