Manchester Arena: Eyewitnesses describe blast horror – BBC News

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Media captionManchester Arena incident: Eyewitness describes ‘explosion’

Witnesses have described scenes of chaos and horror following the fatal blast at the end of a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena.


Andy was in the arena’s foyer waiting for his wife and daughter when he was thrown to the ground by the force of the explosion.

He told BBC 5 live the scene was “like something out of a war film”.

“When I get up and look round, there’s just bodies everywhere. I reckon 20-30 bodies. I can’t say if some of them were dead but they looked dead.

“They were covered in blood and were really seriously hurt. The first thing I did was I ran into the arena trying to find my family.” He found his family, who were safe, but said there were “kids and teenagers just lying there screaming”.


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Gary Walker, from Leeds, and his wife were just metres from the explosion, waiting for their daughters to come out.

He told BBC 5 live: “We heard the last song go and then suddenly there was a massive flash and then a bang and smoke. I felt a pain in my foot and my leg.

“I turned around to my wife who was standing at the side of me and she said, ‘I need to lay down.’

“She’s got a stomach wound and possible a broken leg.

“I’ve got a bit of a hole in my foot where I’ve got a bit of shrapnel. I was surprised I got away so lightly.”


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Emma Johnson told BBC Radio Manchester she and her husband were at the arena to pick up their daughters, aged 15 and 17, who had been to the concert.

“It was definitely a bomb. It was definitely in the foyer. We were stood at the top of the stairs and the glass exploded – it was near to where they were selling the merchandise.

“The whole building shook. There was a blast and then a flash of fire afterwards.

“We obviously then run to try and find our children and fortunately for us we were all safe to tell the story.”


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Anne-Marie was at the concert with her 13-year-old daughter. She told BBC 5 live everybody “went into absolute panic”.

“You just felt this utter shud of the building and… there seemed to be a smog at the top of the stadium and around you.

“People were dropping to the floor and thought there might be a gunman in there. Unfortunately the security were at a loss as much as anybody else and it was just each to their own.

“There were a hell of a lot of children in the building unaccompanied tonight. I was trying to offer my support to a number of girls who were there on their own who were hysterical. They were around my daughter’s age if not younger.”


Eyewitness Jessica said: “It was shocking. Like I just heard this massive bang and then everyone just started running towards us screaming and crying.

“Everyone just trampled over us just to get out.

“I was shocked I didn’t know what was going on. Everyone was sprinting so we were just getting stamped on and everything.”


Rachel from Barnsley told BBC Radio Manchester she was at the venue with her 14-year-old daughter.

To avoid the usual delays exiting the arena at the end of a show they decided to make their way out just before the end.

“As we were going out we heard an almighty bang. At first I thought we’d missed something in the concert.

“As we turned around the corner there was an horrific stampede of people coming down the steps, people falling on floor.

“I grabbed my daughter and we just ran. There were people being crushed on the floor.”


College student Sebastian Diaz, 19, from Newcastle, echoed other witnesses’ descriptions of mass panic at the end of the concert.

“Ariana Grande had just finished her last song and there was a huge bang. I just saw running and it was just instinct to run,” he said.

“We actually ended up in a corridor and it was a dead end. It was terrifying.

“I found the main doors and people were crying everywhere. Back at the hotel people were crying and on their phones.”

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