‘There were kids screaming I’ve lost my mummy’: Man Met journalism student caught up in Manchester Arena terror

  • Final year journalism student Alicia Hattersley at Ariana Grande concert
  • "We stood up ready to leave and there was a massive bang the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life"
  • "There were children crying and parents screaming that they had lost their family"
  • She had gone to review the concert little knowing she would be caught up in a horrific terrorist incident 

MMU journalism student Alicia Hattersley was at the Manchester Arena last night and gave a first-hand account of events to the Northern Quota:

“The concert had literally just ended. Ariana had been off stage for all of a minute. We stood up ready to leave and there was a massive bang the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life, my ears are still ringing.

We were all taken aback and all of a sudden screaming and crying and everyone to the left of us was running in sheer panic. We knew then it was something bad. We knew it wasn’t a speaker but we were hoping it wasn’t what we thought it was. We could see young girls tumbling down the stairs to get away from the explosion. It was about four tiers away from us to the left.

There were kids screaming “I’ve lost my mummy”.

Me and my friend were under the seats trying to hide, and then all of a sudden everyone shouted “run” so we sprung up and ran to the stairs where thousands of people were running trying to get down the stairs.

There were children crying and parents screaming that they had lost their family. We ran down the flights of stairs which felt like hundreds of flights but it was also so quick, we could see from the windows that below us people were running for their lives out of the main Arena entrance.

The scene was chaos. I have never seen or heard anything like it. You don’t think it is something you will witness in your lifetime. There were people screaming and sheer panic because nobody knew what the full extent was or what was happening

You could see the Arena staff and stewards and security had no idea what was happening, there was no announcement just screaming everyone was running for there lives.

When we got outside it was chaos, crowds of people not knowing where to go. Emergency services were there within minutes, there were dozens of police cars, undercover cars and marked cars, ambulances and fire engines.

Immediately we ran as far was we could away from the Arena weaving out of the cars. From the Arena a massive tour bus was trying to get out. We don’t know whether it was Ariana’s tour bus itself with her on board. We ran past Exchange Square hundreds of people everywhere and eventually got to Market Street where we felt safer. We didn’t know how to get home.

What I saw was horrendous and it will stay with me forever – the bang and screaming keeps replaying in my head, I’ve not slept, just been up all night watching the news trying to determine the full extent of this. It was a huge explosion but I am so shocked and keep shaking and crying. It won’t sink in how many lives have been lost. I did not think it would be this many.

Coming to Manchester for uni has been amazing the best place ever. I love it here but Mancs are resilient and we will be brave through this.

I also want to say that what I saw was horrendous but by no means is what I have experienced anything compared to those who were just four tiers away from where we were sat and were in the middle of it all. My heart goes out to those who have died been injured or lost their family.