Reporter: Blast Hit Arena Full Of Young Girls At U.S. Pop Star's Concert

May 22, 2017
Originally published on May 22, 2017 6:56 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We want to update you now on an ongoing story - an attack on a pop concert in Manchester, England. Police there Report 19 dead, another 50 or so injured. The explosions took place just outside the arena where an American pop singer, Ariana Grande, had just finished performing. Earlier we spoke with Andy Bounds of the Financial Times about what more police are saying about this incident which they say they are treating as a terrorist attack.

ANDY BOUNDS: They still haven't confirmed it definitely, but it seems very, very likely, especially as they've just carried out another whole explosion on a suspected device near the scene of the incident.

CORNISH: As you said, it's the second controlled detonation that they've done. Can you talk about where they think these explosions took place? It wasn't inside the concert hall.

BOUNDS: No, that's right. There's only one we know of, and that was about probably 300 or 400 yards away in a small park which is near the concert hall and the station. But the main explosion happened within the foyer area of the concert hall. This is a very big arena. It's got 21,000 capacity. It was obviously full tonight, especially with young girls, as it was an Ariana Grande concert.

CORNISH: And so you have a full concert hall, concertgoers. You also have, I understand, a nearby transit station that is closed for other unrelated reasons. So you have...

BOUNDS: No, I...

CORNISH: ...Quite a few people milling about.

BOUNDS: Yeah, I think it's related because the arena itself sits on top of the station, which is one of the two main stations in Manchester. And therefore they've had to close that station because they obviously, you know, want to make sure the area is secure before they can allow people into it. There's quite a big ring around the area now where people are not allowed to go in.

CORNISH: What does that look like? Are people trying to make phone calls? Are you seeing any of the injured?

BOUNDS: Well, I must admit, I'm not too close to the scene at the minute because it's obviously happened very late at night here.

CORNISH: Sure.

BOUNDS: And I'm just trying to keep on top of things from where I am. But obviously, you know, the reports that I've seen and the footage and so on - there are, you know, lots and lots of people trying to get away still, people being treated at the scene and a considerable amount of confusion. You know, people are now being taken away in ambulances to hospital.

CORNISH: You mention the demographic of some of the concertgoers, this being American pop star Ariana Grande. But do we have a sense of maybe parents looking for young people or how people are trying to organize themselves to say they're OK?

BOUNDS: There are people that still have not been able to get in to pick their children up. There are reports of various children being looked after in hotels until they can be reunited. And it appears as though parents who were waiting to collect their children at the end of the concert may have been caught up in the blast itself which happened right at the end as people were leaving.

CORNISH: That's reporter Andy Bounds of the Financial Time (ph) reporting on explosions in an attack on a concert in Manchester, England. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.