Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have confirmed that 19 people have died and more than 50 are injured after an explosion was reported at Manchester Arena on the evening of Monday 22nd of May.
The explosion is said to have happened at around 10.35pm, following a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande. The emergency services were called following reports of “loud bangs” at the end of the concert.
The North West Counter Terrorism unit has confirmed in a statement that they are treating the incident as a “possible terrorist incident”, and bomb disposal squads were seen arriving at the scene.
GMP released a statement in the early hours of Tuesday 23rd of May confirming that 19 people have lost their lives in the incident, adding that the incident is “currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise”.
Video footage shared on social media shows thousands of people fleeing the scene, both inside the arena and in the surrounding area. Police are asking that the public avoid the area for their own safety.
In a statement released on social media, the GMP said: “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 British Transport Police said in a statement that the explosion happened “within the foyer” of the stadium. Manchester Victoria Station has been closed, and all train travel in and out of the station has been suspended.
GMP have also confirmed on Twitter that a casualty bureau is being mobilised: “Details of a casualty bureau for incident at Manchester Arena will be shared as soon as available. Please stay away from the area”.
Eyewitness Sasina Akhtar, speaking to The Manchester Evening News, said: “She did her last song, we were in the lower tier and there was an explosion behind us at the back of the arena.
“We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running. There was lots of smoke.”
The Guardian Northern correspondent Frances Perraudin tweeted footage of bomb disposal squads arriving at the scene, adding: “Armed police and helicopters overhead in Manchester, around the corner from the arena. All roads into town blocked off.”
The Sun‘s Tom Newton-Dunn tweeted: “NHS sources are saying the explosion at Manchester Arena was a nail bomb attack. Still unconfirmed.”
Residents across Manchester are offering their homes as a refuge for people caught up in the incident using the hashtag #RoomforManchester, particularly as transport in and out of the city has been severely affected by the events.
A Holiday Inn near the arena has reportedly taken in dozens of unaccompanied children who fled the arena, with social media users sharing the information widely.
ITV News’ Alistair Stewart tweeted: “With #RoomForManchester & free rides offered by taxi drivers – humanity stamps its foot.”
This is a developing story.