British police are confirming a number of fatalities after a massive explosion at a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, England Monday night. At least 19 have been killed. Incident is treated as a terrorist attack until police know otherwise.
Ambulances were seen rushing to the Manchester Arena venue, and police added in a statement that people should avoid the area. Earlier, several media outlets reported that there were two explosions from within the 21,000-seat venue, but that was not confirmed by authorities.
Police have released few details and have not said how many people have been killed. Several news outlets quoted witnesses as saying 20-30 people were seen on the ground after the explosion.
Many in the audience were young girls who are fans of Grande, a singer and actress who has appeared in TV and film roles. A spokesman for her record label said the singer is “okay.” The blast or blasts occurred after she had finished performing.
Her “Dangerous Woman Tour” is to support her third studio album, Dangerous Woman. The tour began on February 3 in Phoenix, Arizona. From Manchester, the tour is to move through Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France, through the summer with stops in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and on to Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.
Video from the concert showed thousands of fans scrambling and screaming, trying to escape the building. The incident caused transport chaos, with traffic jams outside the venue and rail services being cancelled.
“It was a huge explosion. You could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming just trying to get out,” a concertgoer told Reuters.
Police have yet to say what caused the blast and have given little information.
Audience members say the arena was loaded with large pink balloons that may have been filled with gas.