Many teens among dead, injured in Ariana Grande concert attack in Manchester

KUALA LUMPUR: What was supposed to be a fun and entertaining night for Mimi and her two friends turned into a nightmare as an explosion rocked the front entrance of the Manchester Arena in England on Monday night.

Mimi, a 27-year-old from Selangor, said the Ariana Grande concert was coming to an end when the explosion occurred.

“It was already the last song. People had already started leaving. Then the explosion took place.

“Everyone just panicked and started running. It was so chaotic. People were running and ramming into each other. Children were crying.

“There were many ambulances. A helicopter hovered overhead. There were roadblocks, many policemen,” she said, adding that the train stations were shut down.

Mimi, who has been on holiday in England for a week, was on the lower ground level of the arena when the bomb went off at ground level at the entrance. Upon seeing others running, she started running as well.

“I was very afraid. When I saw others running, I ran too.

“I used a back road to get home, which had no roadblocks.

“I am so thankful that I (decided to go) out slightly later. If I had come out earlier, I would have surely been affected,” said Mimi, who is a caterer in Selangor.

After initially feeling traumatised, Mimi said she is now relieved. She will be returning to London tomorrow.

The blast, to date, has left at least 19 people dead and about 59 injured in what British police are treating as a terrorist incident.

MANCHESTER: An explosion that may have been a suicide bombing killed at least 19 people Monday night and wounded dozens at an Ariana Grande concert filled with adoring adolescent fans in what police were treating as a terrorist attack.

Panic and mayhem seized the crowd at the Manchester Arena as the blast reverberated through the building, just as the show was ending and pink balloons were dropping from the rafters in a signature flourish by Grande, a 23-year-old pop star on an international tour.

Traumatized concertgoers — including children separated from parents — screamed and fled in what appeared to be the deadliest episode of terrorism in Britain since the 2005 London subway bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the victims and their families in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

The scene immediately evoked the terrorist attacks in Paris in Nov 2015, which included a deadly assault inside the Bataclan concert arena where the Eagles of Death Metal had been playing. But unlike the Bataclan victims, the Manchester concert was filled with teenagers.

People at the concert at the Manchester Arena said they had heard what sounded like explosions at the end of the show, at around 10.30pm local time.

At least one explosion went off in the foyer of the arena, according to the British Transport Police, the force that protects Victoria Station, the train terminus next to the arena. The terminal was evacuated.

Early Tuesday morning, Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team had arrived on the scene as part of the investigation and that the security cordon around the arena had been widened.

A concertgoer, Sasina Akhtar, told The Manchester Evening News that there had been an explosion at the back of the arena after the last song. “We saw young girls with blood on them,” she said. “Everyone was screaming, and people were running.”

Grande, a singer with a big voice who started her career as a star on a Nickelodeon TV series, is on an international tour supporting her 2016 album, “Dangerous Woman.”

“Ariana is OK,” Grande’s publicist, Joseph Carozza, said before the enormity of the episode was widely known. TMZ, the entertainment news website, said Grande was reported to be “in hysterics” over the deadly blast. – NYT

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