UPDATE – “Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert and have lost their lives,” said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, referring to the many young fans of Ariana Grande who died in an explosion in the Manchester Arena last night shortly after the singer completed her last set and left the stage.
The death count has risen to 22 and the number of injuries along with it; some 59 people are spread among eight hospitals in the Greater Manchester area. There may be more to come and more too, may succumb to their injuries.
In a statement, Chief Hopkins said: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see”.
Police believe that the incident is the work of one man who was killed in the arena when the improvised explosive device he was carrying exploded. They are now looking into whether he was working alone.
Grande was devastated and apologize emphatically, saying in a post on social media (@ArianaGrande) – “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
Investigations continue with 400 officers working on the case with the Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services.
Victoria Train Station, which is connected to the arena is cordoned off. People will have to look for alternative modes of travel in order to get to work today.
Families are waking up this morning to find that their loved-ones did not return home safely from a concert they were so looking forward to last night.
The latest release today from Manchester police confirms that at least 19 people are dead in an explosion that took place at Manchester Arena, United Kingdom, where pop singer Ariana Grande was performing.
Police say that “so far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured,” in the incident that happened just before 10:35 p.m. local time on Monday, May 22.
The explosion is “currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” they say. People are being asked to continue to avoid the area.
About 30 minutes after the statement, officers carried out a “precautionary explosion in Cathedral Gardens and confirmed that it was abandoned clothing, not a suspicious item.”
“We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming,” concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.
“It was a huge explosion — you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.”
Before the public statement by Manchester Police, NBC News reported “20 fatalities and multiple injuries” as did @Zach.Braun who posted a video of people screaming and running down staircases of what he labeled Victoria Station.
On another video posted on social media, it seemed as though the wounded were being attended to and still another video showed emergency vehicles headed toward the area.
At first people were confused as some reported hearing explosions about a half-a-mile away and suggested that there was a train derailment nearby. Within minutes people posted photos and videos on social media to confirm police reports that there was an incident inside the arena.
@Alyssa1993 and others sent alerts on Twitter to say that over 50 children were safely waiting at the local Holiday Inn to reconnect with their parents, those who got separated during the rush to get out of the venue. Many of Grande’s fans are young and would have likely been accompanied by adults.
Reuters news agency says a spokesman for Ariana Grande’s record label said that the singer was “okay”.
An emergency number is now available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area – 0161 856 9400.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe,” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely, says Reuters.
Manchester Arena is a popular concert venue and the largest indoor arena in Europe. It opened in 1995 and has a capacity for 21,000 people.
Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird