AT least 19 fans were killed and 50 hurt last night after a “terrorist bomb attack” at a teen pop concert in the Manchester Arena.
Many of those killed are feared to be youngsters watching US popstar Ariana Grande, who had just left stage.
Greater Manchester Police said: “Just before 10.35pm on Monday 22 May 2017 police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured. Watch Video below;
“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”
Bomb squads were called in and carried out a precautionary controlled explosion, which was later found to be abandoned clothing.
British Transport Police have confirmed the explosion went off in the foyer area of the stadium adding that emergency services are working to establish the cause and ask people to avoid the area.
Shocking pictures and video footage have shown the bloodied injured leaving the 21,000 capacity arena as passers-by rushed to try and help.
Unconfirmed reports from NHS sources have said injuries suggest the explosion could have been caused by a nail bomb while Reuters reports that two US officials have said suicide bombers are suspected.
Manchester Royal Infirmary declared a major incident at 11.10pm and cleared its A&E department to treat the victims.
Social media users have reported seeing multiple arrests around the city, but police have not confirmed if these are linked to the incident.
Manchester’s Victoria Station, which backs onto the arena, has been evacuated and all trains cancelled as emergency services respond.
Courtney Spencer, a 17-year-old student who was at the concert with a pal, told The Sun: “It happened just in front of us at the top of the stairs. We didn’t know what had happened. It could have been a gun or a bang or an explosion.
“We just grabbed each other and got away. One lass was laying in her mother’s arms. I’m not sure if she has collapsed in shock or was injured.”
Abby Mullen said she was also leaving the venue at the time of the blast and refuted claims it had been caused by a speaker or balloon, which had circulated on social media after the explosion.
She wrote on Facebook: “As we where leaving a bomb or explosion went off centimetres in front of me.
“Peoples skin/blood&faeces where everywhere including in my hair & on my bag. I’m still finding bits of god knows what in my hair. I am fine & back in my hotel I hope everyone involved and in front of me is okay.”