At least 19 people have died and 50 others were injured after an explosion was reported outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in England, on Monday night (May 22).
Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until we know otherwise”, said British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The explosions – witnesses report hearing two or three – took place at around 10.30pm local time as Grande’s concert was ending and, in a characteristic flourish, pink balloons were dropped from the ceiling. Videos of panicked concertgoers shrieking and running has appeared on Twitter, along with reports of an “explosion” and injured fans.
A representative for Grande’s label tells Variety that the singer is “okay”. In a post on its Facebook page, Manchester Arena said “the incident took place outside the venue in a public space”.
CNN cites law-enforcement officials as saying a man at the scene “has been identified as the probable bomber”.
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY http://pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— ♡♡ (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
One concertgoer, 22-year-old Majid Khan, told The Independent: “I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10.45pm-ish, a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.”
“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit Trinity Way, and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could,” he added.
“Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there,” Khan continued.
The venue, which is located above Victoria train station in England’s second-largest city, has a capacity of 21,000. An alert from the British Transport Police says one of the explosions took place in the foyer, or the entrance area, of the arena at around 1030pm local time.
The New York Times spoke with Gary Walker, who attended the show with his wife and two daughters. He said he “heard a massive bang and saw a flash” as the concert ended, then realised his wife had been injured, suffering a stomach wound and possibly a broken leg. He said he saw “metal nuts on the floor”. His wife was taken to a nearby hospital.
Variety has reached out to Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, for further updates. – Reuters/Jem Aswad
UPDATE: TMZ reports that Ariana Grande has suspended her world tour in the wake of the terrorist bombing.
Tearing up imagining innocent concert goers losing their lives.. praying for everyone and all #arianators.
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) May 22, 2017
Absolutely Horrendous what happened in Manchester tonight. My thoughts are with the great people of Manchester and also Ari and her team xx
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) May 23, 2017
I’m heartbroken over what happened in Manchester tonight.
Sending love to everyone involved. H
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) May 23, 2017
sending love and prayers to Ariana and everyone that was at her show❤️
— Noah Cyrus (@noahcyrus) May 23, 2017
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) May 23, 2017
No words can describe how I feel about what happened in Manchester. I don’t wanna believe that the world we live in could be so cruel.
— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) May 23, 2017
Broken hearted for the families tonight. Broken hearted for Ari. Broken hearted for the state of this world.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) May 23, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Manchester, any one affected, @ArianaGrande and the entire crew. Heartbreaking
— P!nk (@Pink) May 23, 2017
My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 23, 2017
My heart hurts for my sister, Ariana & every family affected by this tragic event in the U.K. Innocent lives lost. I’m so sorry to hear this
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) May 23, 2017
every musician feels sick & responsible tonight—shows should be safe for you. truly a worst nightmare. sending love to manchester & ari
— Lorde (@lorde) May 23, 2017