Police Confirm 22 People Dead After Explosion At Manchester Arena [UPDATED]

Police and fans outside the Manchester Arena on Monday, following reports of an explosion after Ariana Grande had performed. (Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Updated May 23, 2017, at 1pm:

The Manchester Arena was packed on Monday night with pop fans eager to hear Ariana Grande perform. Her songs are bubblegum pop, so picture the crowd: kids and their parents, teenagers with their friends, fans looking for a cheerful night out.

At the end of the concert, an explosion struck near the arena. The blast killed at least 22 people and injured more than 50.

Young women — including very young girls — are Grande's core fan base. And authorities confirmed that children were among the dead, which was quickly apparent as friends, family and schools began reporting the names of some of those victims.

The first to be named was an 18-year-old woman. The second, an 8-year-old girl.

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Saffie Rose Roussos, the 8-year-old, was attending the concert with her mother and sister, The Guardian reports.

Saffie was initially identified as missing after the attack. Her photo was circulated online by friends of the family who knew that Saffie's mother and sister had been hospitalized, but couldn't find Saffie, according to Metro.

Now her death has been confirmed by the headmaster of her school, Chris Upton, who told the Guardian Saffie was "simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly."

An 18-year-old college student, Georgina Callander, was also named as a victim.

Callander was studying health and social care at Runshaw College, which confirmed her death on Facebook.

Callander had a buoyant social media presence, celebrating the singers, actors and shows that she followed passionately, and rejoicing over school achievements like finishing a long paper.

She often sought photos with celebrities — in fact, took a picture with Ariana Grande two years ago. Her caption read in part, "I HUGGED HER SO TIGHT AND SHE SAID SHE LOVED MY BOW."

On Sunday, she tweeted at Grande, "SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU TOMORROW."

A third victim has been identified as John Atkinson, according to the Manchester Evening News. His age has been reported as 26 and 28.

Friends called him "a beautiful soul" and "an amazing young man," the newspaper reports.

Many of the people injured in the attack were still receiving treatment at area hospitals.

A dozen children were among those who were hospitalized, a director of an ambulance service tells The Guardian.

Original Story:

Police in Manchester, England, confirm 19 people dead at Manchester Arena following an apparent explosion after a concert by Ariana Grande. About 50 people have been injured.

The statement says police will treat the incident as a terrorist attack until they know otherwise.

Authorities also say they conducted a "precautionary controlled explosion," and the thing they had been concerned about turned out to be abandoned clothing and not a suspicious item.

The management of the Manchester Arena issued a statement, saying the incident happened outside the facility.

Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena on Monday after reports of explosions following an Ariana Grande concert.
Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena on Monday after reports of explosions following an Ariana Grande concert. (Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

The BBC reports witnesses heard an explosion, which was followed by a chaotic scene with audience members running for the exits.

Reuters reports that emergency services are responding to the reports of "a serious incident." Greater Manchester Police are advising people to "avoid the area."

A spokesman for the pop singer said that she was "okay," according to Reuters.\

A street close to England's Manchester Arena is cordoned off Monday, as police confirm fatalities after a concert there by Ariana Grande. Media quote witnesses as saying there was an explosion and the audience ran for the exits.
A street close to England's Manchester Arena is cordoned off Monday, as police confirm fatalities after a concert there by Ariana Grande. Media quote witnesses as saying there was an explosion and the audience ran for the exits. (Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

One witness, Josh Elliott, told the BBC Radio 5 Live that "A bang went off and everyone stopped and screamed. ... We basically hit the deck," he said. "It was bedlam ... it was horrific. We got up when we thought it was safe and got out as quickly as possible. People were just crying and in tears. ... Police cars were everywhere."

This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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