Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that the explosion which killed 19 people and injured at least 50 others at the Manchester Arena was a suspected act of terrorism.
PM @theresa_may says thoughts with victims in Manchester of what is being treated as "appalling terrorist attack" https://t.co/yBzuEu2nFy
- BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 23, 2017
Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.
- Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 22, 2017
Concert-goers were attending an Ariana Grande gig in when a loud 'explosion' was heard.
GMP tweeted that they were called out to an incident just before 10:35pm at the 21,000 capacity arena.
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY
- G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
At around 3am a police spokesman said: "Nineteen people have died and 50 casualties are being treated across Greater Manchester. Thoughts with those who have lost their lives. We are doing all we can do support them. GMP are working at the scene, coordinating the operation.
"An emergency number is available: 0161 856 9400. We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information.
"We are doing all we can, working with local and national agencies to gather further information. And we are still receiving information.
"I want to thank people for their support and ask them to remain vigilant, and ask them to report anything to the national terrorism hotline.
"It's important that people here in Manchester avoid the area around the arena."
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, added in a statement: "This is an absolutely horrifying incident and our thoughts are with everyone affected, especially those who have lost loved ones or been injured and traumatised.
"If it is confirmed this was a terrorist attack, it is a monstrous act but also a deeply futile one. Manchester is proud and strong city and we will not allow those who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims.
"We give heartfelt thanks to our emergency services for their response and council staff are doing all they can to support."
Footage seemed to show a large flash of light from inside the arena, although reports suggest that the event now took place in the foyer.
If you look towards the left you see the explosion and hear the bang. I hope to GOD everyone is ok, and so glad Jess and Em are. #manchester pic.twitter.com/q81KHGEJ6E
- Joe Gregory (@JoeAaronGregory) May 22, 2017
Footage from inside the arena seemed to demonstrate the panic that was evident.
Terrible scenes inside #ManchesterArena https://t.co/My5JlsC3at pic.twitter.com/mRpfpelLGs
- BBC North West (@BBCNWT) May 23, 2017
One eyewitness, Jenna-Lea May Alston, told LADbible: "The lights came on and we heard a massive bang. I've never heard anything like it in my life. It was louder than fireworks. There was screaming, you didn't know what to do.
"We tried to go out, and when we did, two girls opened the doors and instantly ran back screaming that there was a bomb. We all thought the absolute worst.
"Eventually when they told us to evacuate we went down the same set of stairs and all I could see were bodies, smoke and blood. I could see man with blood down his back, and young girls.
"It was by where the old McDonald's used to be. There were bodies lying on the floor, I saw it with my own eyes."
Manchester residents were quick to offer beds to any stranded people, using the hashtag #RoomForManchester. Other social media users offered their thoughts to the victims.
Comedian Jason Manford took to Facebook Live in tears to express his anger at the attacker, but also to show support for the victims.
British Transport Police quickly closed off Victoria station which runs under the arena. The railway part of the station will remain closed on Tuesday, with the Metrolink only running through, and not stopping, at Victoria.
This is the postbox in Corporation Street which survived the IRA bomb in 1996. A symbol that Manchester will not back down. pic.twitter.com/p4lOa6KBbV
- :radio: Colin Paterson :tv: (@ColinGPaterson) May 23, 2017
The Manchester Evening News called the event: 'One of Manchester's saddest days. We are heartbroken'.
An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area - 0161 856 9400
Featured Image Credit: PA
- 'Explosions' Heard At Manchester Arena Following 'Serious Incident' At Ariana Grande Concert
- Several Killed And Many Injured After 'Explosions' At Manchester Arena
- Ariana Grande Will Return To Manchester For A Benefit Concert
- Social Media Footage Shows Horrifying Moment Of Terrorist Attack At Manchester Arena