At least 22 dead after explosion at Ariana Grande concert in England

Many of the show’s attendees were teens and young children.

Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017, after an explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans. CREDIT: AP Photo/Rui Vieira
Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017, after an explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans. CREDIT: AP Photo/Rui Vieira

At least 22 people are dead and 59 are injured after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester, England, according to multiple news reports.

Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech on Tuesday that the incident was an apparent suicide bombing. Authorities believe they know the identity of the bomber, who died in the blast, but police are still trying to confirm whether the perpetrator acted alone. On Tuesday morning, Manchester police said they had arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.

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Concertgoers said they heard loud bangs at at Manchester Arena around 10:30 p.m. local time on Monday evening, just as the concert was ending. Shortly after, Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team arrived at the scene and police cautioned people to avoid the area so that emergency responders could reach victims and those injured.

More than 20,000 people were in the arena when the explosion occurred, according to reporting from the Guardian. Many of the show’s attendees were teenagers and young children. A reporter from the Guardian on the scene tweeted that “small children” appeared to be among the injured.

There are conflicting reports about where exactly the explosion took place. British Transport Police said it happened in the foyer of the arena. Manchester Arena released a statement on Monday evening, however, saying the incident had occurred outside of the venue.

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“We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night,” the statement read. “The incident took place outside the venue in a public space. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.”

The most accurate characterization of what police know about the blast, according to the New York Times, is that it occurred in an enclosed space connecting the arena to the Manchester Victoria rail station next door.

Grande herself was unharmed, and tweeted on Monday evening that she is “broken” following the tragedy. Her manager, Scooter Braun, released a statement on Twitter saying that “words cannot express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed in this senseless attack.”

A local hospital, Wythenshawe, was reportedly dealing with “mass casualties” following the incident, according to the Washington Post. The local ambulance service requested that residents call “for life-threatening emergencies” only so that those injured in the blast could be prioritized.

Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, tweeted support to those in Manchester while praising the city’s emergency services.

The hashtag #RoomForManchester quickly popped up on social media, offering spaces to those unable to get home from the concert. Due to ongoing emergency activity, the Manchester Victoria rail station — which is a major transportation hub — was evacuated and closed.

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As of Tuesday morning, parents are still searching for their missing children who did not return home after the concert. People who are looking for their relatives and friends in the aftermath of the attack are being instructed to contact the emergency number 0161 856 9400.

A statement from Greater Manchester Police said that the incident was being treated as a “terrorist incident” until more information is known. However, BBC news reports emphasized that the incident’s motivations are unknown and an investigation is still underway. There has so far been no evidence of an outside group claiming responsibility for the attack.

President Donald Trump, who is currently abroad, condemned the “evil losers” behind the Manchester attack on Tuesday.

This is a breaking news post and has been updated with additional details as more information became available.