At Least 19 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Suspected Suicide Bombing at Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester

Police say to avoid the area in what's being described as a "terrorist incident."
May 22, 2017, 11:20pm
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An explosion at UK's Manchester Arena Monday night has left at least 19 dead and 50 injured following an Ariana Grande concert outside at the venue. Greater Manchester Police say the event is being treated as "terrorist incident." Unconfirmed reports suggest the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated a nail-filled explosive device, according to the New York Times. The suspected bombing would mark the deadliest instance of terrorism in the UK since the 2005 London Subway bombings.

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The explosion was heard around 10:35 PM GMT, around when Grande was performing the last song on her tour stop as part of her Dangerous Woman tour. The pop star has been confirmed safe. "Ariana is O.K.," her publicist, Joseph Carozza, told the New York Times . "We are further investigating what happened."

Numerous reports have described one or possibly several large explosions taking place as concertgoers—primarily young people—were exiting the venue. The massive arena holds up to 21,000 spectators, though it is not known how many were in attendance at the time. Officials from Manchester Arena confirmed the incident in a tweet, noting that it took place outside of the arena in public space and not inside the venue itself.

Greater Manchester Police are asking all individuals to avoid the area. The suspected attack comes at a time when the threat level for international terrorism in the UK is on severe alert, meaning that an attack is highly likely, according to M15.

Reports on social media from those who say they were at or near the venue detail an explosion and photos and videos showing concertgoers fleeing the venue. Some US officials have said that early reports from the scene suggest that a number of casualties may have been caused by the stampede of attendees attempting to leave arena, according to NBC News.

Another video appears to capture the sound of a large explosion just outside of the venue:

"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," fan Majid Khan told The Guardian.

"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.

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"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."

Concert promoter Live Nation issued a statement addressing the suspected attack late Monday, saying, "We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident."

Lorde was among a number of artists who took to social media on Monday to express condolences and solidarity, describing the incident as a "worst nightmare" and saying that every musician feels "sick & responsible."

This is a developing story. Check VICE News for more updates.