At least 19 people were killed and more than 50 injured after reports of an explosion in the foyer area of a crowded Manchester concert hall, which left hundreds of people fleeing in terror.
Live Manchester Arena: police confirm 19 dead after explosion at Ariana Grande concert – latest updates
Greater Manchester police have warned people to stay away after fatal explosion at pop concert
Police said they were dealing with a possible terror incident which happened at the Manchester Arena, with witnesses claiming to have heard an explosion around 10.40pm. It was feared last night that the death toll may be significant.
Counter-terrorism officials were assessing what caused the explosion. Investigators from the police and the domestic security service MI5 were part of the investigation.
Greater Manchester police said there were a “number of confirmed fatalities and others injured” with scores of emergency service vehicles rushing to the scene.
A concert by the American pop singer Ariana Grande was being staged at the time. Footage from inside the Manchester Arena, which has a 21,000 capacity, shows a crowd containing many young revellers.
The incident comes at a time when Britain has been on a severe terrorist alert, meaning an attack is highly likely.
In the immediate aftermath police told people to keep away from the area.
Witnesses said the concert had finished, the house lights came up and then a loud bang was heard. Majid Khan, 22, said: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.
“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”
Oliver Jones, 17, who attended with his 19-year-old sister, said: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”
Hannah Dane, who was at the concert, told the Guardian there was “quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester arena and it shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out”. People outside the concert were visibly upset, as a cacophony of sirens were heard as police and ambulance vehicles arrived at the scene.