MANCHESTER, England (KDKA/AP) — An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens in what police were treating as a terrorist attack.
Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of the concert. Police say the man died in the attack. Police are trying to determine if that man acted alone or had support.
Police said Tuesday 22 people died in the attack. Northwest Ambulance Service said 59 injured people had been taken to hospitals, and a number of “walking wounded” were treated at the scene. Officials say children are among the victims.
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY😭pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— ♡♡ (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
Police cars, bomb-disposal units and 60 ambulances raced to the scene as the scale of the carnage became clear. Police say some 400 officers were deployed overnight to help with the investigation.
“We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise,” said Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police.
There was panic after the explosion, which struck around 10:30 p.m. as Grande was ending the concert, part of her Dangerous Woman Tour.
Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours later: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
Manchester Arena said on its website that the blast struck outside the venue as concertgoers were leaving. Some eyewitnesses said it happened in the foyer of the arena just after the concert ended.
One witness said Grande had just finished her final song and said “Thank you, Manchester,” before leaving the stage.
The incident led to a nightlong search for loved ones as parents tried to locate their teenage children and groups of friends scattered by the explosion sought to find one another.
Twitter and Facebook were filled with appeals for information about people who had not been accounted for.
Jenny Brewster said she was leaving the concert with her 11-year-old daughter when the blast hit.
“As I turned around, boom, one loud noise,” she told Sky News. “A gentleman said ‘run!’ so we ran.”
Outside, she said, “you could smell the burning.”
Britain’s terrorist threat level stands at “severe,” the second-highest rung on a five-point scale, meaning an attack is highly likely.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 23, 2017
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If the incident is confirmed as a terrorist attack it would be the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters on three subway trains and a bus in July 2005.
“A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” said concertgoer Majid Khan, 22. “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.”
Added Oliver Jones, 17: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”
Video from inside the arena showed concertgoers screaming as they made their way out amid a sea of pink balloons. Police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena, and the train station near the arena, Victoria Station, was evacuated and all trains canceled.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was working to establish “the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”
President Donald Trump expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of the explosion, condemning those behind the blast.
“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”
President Trump is in the midst of his first overseas trip as president, meeting Tuesday in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and speaking at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The White House says Mr. Trump is being provided updates on the explosion by his national security team.
Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/gaKASukx9a
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 22, 2017
The Dangerous Woman tour is the third concert tour by 23-year-old Grande and supports her third studio album, “Dangerous Woman.”
Grande’s role as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s high school sitcom “Victorious” propelled her to teen idol status, starting in 2010.
The tour began in Phoenix, Arizona, in February. After Manchester, Grande was to perform at venues in Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France, with concerts in Latin America and Asia to follow.
Many fans know that Grande is dating rapper Mac Miller, who’s from Pittsburgh.
KDKA’s Ken Rice spoke with Miller’s mother, and she confirmed that Grande and everyone in her crew were okay. She said Miller was in Los Angeles.
Pop concerts and nightclubs have been a terrorism target before. Almost 90 people were killed by gunmen inspired by the extremist Islamic State group at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal in November 2015.
In Turkey, 39 people died when a gunman attacked New Year’s revelers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul.
In response to the Manchester attack, the organizer of an upcoming hip hop concert in the Pittsburgh area announced Tuesday morning it will beef up security. The concert headlined by Rick Ross is scheduled for June 10 at Wild Things Park in Washington, Pennsylvania.
“The health and well being of those attending the upcoming concert is our number one priority,” said Stuart Williams, the event organizer an an owner of the Washington Wild Things. “We are taking every step possible to provide the highest degree of safety and state of the art security to ensure a fun and exciting night.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)