POLICE have confirmed that people have died and been injured after an “explosion” at Manchester Arena sent thousands of terrified concertgoers fleeing an Ariana Grande concert.
Witnesses on social media have reported hearing a “massive bang” before screaming crowds rushed out of the venue with police confirming an explosion in the foyer area.
As bomb squads were called to the scene Greater Manchester Police 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. Details of a casualty bureau will follow as soon as available.”
British Transport Police have confirmed the explosion went off in the foyer area of the stadium at about 10.30pm adding that emergency services are working to establish the cause.
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 the injuries seen suggest the explosion could have been caused by a nail bomb.
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.”