Witnesses to Manchester Arena suicide bomb attack speak of shock and disbelief
- "I had just got in from a band practice and was getting into bed when we heard this massive bag"
- Residents alerted by huge police presence
- Volunteers set up refreshments stand for emergency services
Witnesses and those caught up in the Manchester Arena bomb have been speaking to the Northern Quota about their ordeal.
Here we publish their accounts:
Poppy Chester, a member of Manchester band Wildfires, lives in Blackfriars, close to the Manchester Arena concert and spoke to the Northern Quota about what she experienced.
She said: “I’d just got in from a band practice and was getting into bed when we heard this massive bang. Obviously, living in a city centre with construction sites surrounding us, we didn’t really think much of it, but within minutes there were 10-15 police cars, unmarked riot vans, armed police, driving down our road.
“One patrol car came and cordoned off the area right outside our flat and the police tape came out. That’s when we knew it was a lot more than we first speculated.
“The police started shouting at cars telling them to turn around and it was weird because there was literally nothing on the news for half-an-hour.
“So we started checking Twitter and saw all these tweets about bombs and attacks, but it’s hard to believe when it’s your own city. We’ve had police and news crews all through the night and at one point had about eight or nine ambulances drive past at about 2am, and then air ambulances arrived.”
College student Em Hopkinson was at the concert. She said: “It was so terrifying – we came out of the stands deciding which way to go and we heard this loud bang.
“Everyone just froze and looked around for like 10 secnds, and then veeryone started runing backward towards me and my mate. I grabbed my mate and started running. We were luckly near the fire escape so we could quickly leave.
“I know the stadium and where we were was close to where it happened. It was the scariest moment ever. I’m okay but I don;’t knlw how long it will be before I stop replaying it in my head
I’m just shocked and the more news I see the more upsetting it is.”
Em’s mum, Carole, told us: “She messaged me at 10.22pm to say the concert had nearly finished, so I could set off to pick her up. At 10.33 she rang me in a panic saying that there had been a big bang. She said she had grabbed hold of her friend and ran.
“I tried to calm her down and said I would be there as soon as I could. I was in a panic and told her to keep walking away from the Arena. As I approached it was really busy and people were everywhere. I rang her and she said she was just helping a girl to get a taxi .
“Once sorted she came to the car. At this point we were unaware of what had actually happened. I took her friend home and they seemed really calm but in shock. Once her friend got out the car she broke down and I comforted her, but it’s hard because I can’t really understand what she has been through.
“I feel greatfull that she is okay but can’t help thinking what could of been and how I can help her get through this.”
Ryan Molloy, 25, a DHL driver from Stoke-on-Trent, told the Northern Quota: “People were on the floor, there was blood all over. All I can hear is that explosion. I didn’t want to think it was a bomb but I knew it was because of the smell. It smelt like fireworks. One victim had massive cuts to her leg and her mum was saying ‘someone help us’.”
He returned this morning to lay flowers out of respect for those who lost their lives.
Alex Bond and Bruno Beech are part of the Rapid Relief team of volunteers set up a stand in rhe Audacious Church in Trinity Way, Salford offering tea, coffee and refreshments for the emergency services.
Student Rebecca Pearson, 22, who also attended the concert, said: “It was very traumatic. Everyone ran from inside.It was a slow reaction near our end but near where it happened everyone started diving over the chairs and it took a minute or so for everyone to start running in the outside areas.
“You could see smoke in the corridors, then as soon as you got outside there’s hundreds of police and people with wounds near Victoria station being treated on the floor. There were lots of children screaming and crying, but where I was we had no idea what happened. We thought people were injured due to the stampede and being crushed.
“It was horrible now knowing what we heard was in fact was the bomb.
“We knew that the last trains had been replaced by a bus and we were going to leave so that we could try and get a seat on the bus and weren’t stranded, because we thought the concert was finished. But then she came back out, which is in the direction of the foyer where the bomb went off.”