An explosion Monday night killed 19 people and wounded dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. The exact cause of the blast is unknown, but police are treating it as a “terrorist incident.” The New York Times said a suicide bomber may have detonated an explosive device filled with nails.

The explosion occurred around 10:35 p.m. in the foyer of the Manchester Arena, where Grande had just completed a concert, according to the Times. Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs come from the back of venue. Footage from the concert shows people fleeing on foot from the arena, where heavily armed police had swarmed.

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A publicist for Grande told The New York Times that the 23-year-old singer was “O.K.” TMZ reported that Grande, who had just left the stage before the explosion, was “in hysterics” after learning that 19 people had been killed. Hours after the incident, Grande shared her first statement, tweeting:

Many of the concertgoers were teenagers and witnesses reported that parents were outside the arena trying frantically to find their children, according to The Washington Post.

“A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” concertgoer Majid Khan, 22, told Britain’s Press Association. “It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”

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Oliver Jones, 17, added: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”

One concert goer told The Guardian: “There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show. At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.”

Police said Tuesday morning they are still gathering information about the incident and are setting up a telephone hot line to help people locate loved ones. Police said there are 19 confirmed deaths.

Grande’s current tour began on February 3 in Phoenix, Arizona, and was scheduled to move through Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France.

Ariana Grande performing in New York City on February 23, 2017.


The Department of Homeland Security said there is no evidence of credible threats against music venues in the U.S., but it noted that the U.S. public may experience increased security in and around public places and events.

With reporting from The Associated Press.

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