Emergency services responded to reports of explosions at Ariana Grande’s concert at England’s Manchester Arena on Monday, May 22. According to the Associated Press, ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
According to the Manchester police department, 22 people are confirmed dead and about 59 are injured. The incident is being investigated as a possible terrorist incident.
NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT https://t.co/N2lOT9C8KS
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) May 22, 2017
US officials tell NBC News that forensic evidence points to a possible backpack bomb in a suspected suicide bombing. BBC Radio Manchester reports that a second device was disposed of with a controlled detonation, and police later determined it was not a suspicious item.
Billboard reports that Grande’s rep confirmed that the singer is “okay.”
According to numerous concertgoers on Twitter, loud explosions were heard, causing thousands to flee the arena.
“Emergency services are currently responding to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please avoid the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene,” the police department’s statement read. “Details of casualty bureau will follow as soon as possible.”
Two loud bangs heard around Manchester arena. People running out of the arena. No idea what’s going on pic.twitter.com/KaRzQckvEE
— Alan Brennan (@alanbmufc92) May 22, 2017
In social media footage, thousands of fans could be seen attempting to exit the area.
“Suddenly everybody started screaming and running for the exit … We could hear the police and ambulance sirens. It was terrifying,” a concertgoer told the Daily Mail. “There were thousands of people trying to get out at once. They were all screaming and crying. The whole place smelt smokey and burnt.”
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY? pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— hannah ? (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
Matt Ledger, 19, who was at the concert with friends told Express.co.uk that they heard a “huge bang.”
“Kids were crying, [moms] were picking their kids up and running for the exits — there were people lying injured and being trampled on as everyone tried to get out,” Ledger recalled. “The bang made everyone shake.”
Another concertgoer tells Us Weekly that the explosions happened at the end of the concert. “Everyone immediately started running out and screaming. It’s absolute chaos,” the eyewitness tells Us. “There’s a helicopter circling the area and armed police officers everywhere. Lots of people are stranded because the trains aren’t leaving Manchester now and the bus station is closed. We’re stuck in the car park.”
This story is developing, updates to follow.