Terror Strikes At Ariana Grande Concert, Leaving 19 Dead

  • 19 people were killed and about 50 were injured in a blast at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
  • The blast took place at the end of the singer?s set, sending concert goers into a panic.
  • U.K. police are treating the explosion as a terrorist incident.

Moments after Ariana Grande finished performing her 2016 hit single ?Dangerous Woman? Monday, a loud blast jarred thousands of British fans cheering the American pop star at the Manchester Arena.

Concertgoers, many of them Grande?s young fans and their friends, parents and grandparents, scrambled to evacuate the enormous concert hall, filling the arena with screams. Some were still clutching pink balloons that had dropped from the rafters during Grande?s encore.

At least 19 people were killed and about 50 were injured in the late-night explosion, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said early Tuesday. Police said the blast would be ?treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.?

Two unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters a suicide bomber was suspected. Neither U.S. nor British authorities have confirmed the report, and no group has claimed responsibility.

The blast took place outside the famous concert hall, the largest indoor arena in Europe, near the box office, just after the show ended. Many parents were awaiting their children outside to take them home after the sold-out show.

Among those struck in the mayhem was Andy Holey, who was picking up his wife and daughter from the concert.

?As I was waiting, an explosion went off and it threw me about 30 feet from one set of doors to the other set of doors,? Holey told BBC. ?When I got up I saw bodies lying on the ground. My first thought was to go into the arena to try to find my family.?

Holey said he ?looked through some of the bodies to try and find my wife and daughter,? and eventually found them unharmed.

Elena Semino of Lancaster shared a similar story with The Guardian. Semino and her husband were waiting near the box office to pick up their 17-year-old daughter when the explosion occurred.

?My husband and I were standing against the wall, luckily, and all of a sudden there was this thing. I can?t even describe it,? Semino said. ?There was this heat on my neck, and when I looked up, there were bodies everywhere.?

Inside the arena, concertgoers scrambled to evacuate amid screaming.

Witness described a chaotic scene, with many people confused about what just had happened.

?There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out,? Jade Baynes, 18, told The Guardian. ?An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm, but leave as quickly as possible.?

?You could feel it in your chest,? Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters. ?It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.?

Moments earlier, fans were enjoying Grande?s performance, one of four stops on the U.K. leg of her ?Dangerous Woman? tour.

Grande was unharmed, her publicist told The New York Times. She later tweeted her condolences to her fans:

Grande got her start on Nickelodeon?s ?Victorious? and later starred on its spinoff ?Sam & Cat.? Her debut album, ?Yours Truly? was released in 2013 and featured early hits ?Baby I? and ?Right There.? Grande has since released two more records and cemented herself as one of the reigning pop divas of her time.

The 23-year-old is a four-time Kids? Choice Award-winner and because of her roots on Nickelodeon, her fan-base tends to skew on the younger side. Witnesses said the audience included many children.

Celebrities flooded Twitter on Thursday with condolences for the victims of the blast.

Britain?s leaders responded with solemn statements throughout the night.

British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her condolences for the victims of the ?appalling terrorist attack,? adding that authorities were still working to establish the full details of what happened.  

British labor leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed condolences.

As did Manchester?s mayor, Carl-Austin Behan.

London stands with Manchester, London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted.

Monday?s blast comes at a turbulent time for the U.K. Britain is on its second-highest alert level of ?severe,? meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

It?s been just two months since a 52-year-old British citizen ran down pedestrians with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer to death before being killed by authorities. Five people, including the attacker and the officer were killed, and more than 40 were injured.

And at the start of next month, Brits are headed to the polls to vote in early elections. May is hoping to strengthen her coalition ahead of talks to exit the European Union. Politicians have agreed to suspend campaigning in the wake of the attack.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident while traveling in Israel, a senior White House official said. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the situation, but had ?no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States.?

Chris D?Angelo, Stephanie Marcus and Reuters contributed reporting.

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