MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert in northern England late Monday, killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens in what police say they are treating as a terrorist attack.
Greater Manchester Police said 19 people were confirmed dead and roughly 50 were injured by the explosion at Manchester Arena. Emergency vehicles were helping the injured and bomb disposal units were later seen outside the venue.
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/BEpLOan3dY
— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
After the initial incident, police carried out a precautionary controlled explosion nearby but the item turned out to be discarded clothing, not a “suspicious item,” Greater Manchester Police said.
Investigators are looking into the possibility of a suicide bombing outside of the arena, according to a Western law enforcement official and a US law enforcement official.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is working to establish “the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”
She said her thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected. The government is expected to call an emergency Cabinet meeting.
If the incident is confirmed as a terrorist attack it would be the most deadly in Britain since the London subway bombings in 2005.
Britain’s terrorist threat level has been set at “severe” in recent years indicating an attack is highly likely.
There was mass panic after the explosion at the end of the concert, which was part of Grande’s The Dangerous Woman Tour. The singer was not injured, according to a representative.
“We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night. The incident took place outside the venue in a public space. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims,” police said on Twitter.
— Manchester Arena (@ManchesterArena) May 23, 2017
Earlier police had warned people to stay away from Manchester Arena after reports of two loud explosions. The crowd was made up of mainly younger people who had come to see Grande in her first of three scheduled concerts in the UK, on her European and Latin American tour.
Ivo Delgado, a witness, told CNN he heard one explosion as the concert was ending. He said there was smoke in a main corridor outside the arena seating and stage area.
"It was a really big explosion. Everybody started screaming and running," he said.
Delgago said: "There were people on the floor ... There was a lot of confusion."
Social media posts from the scene showed panicked concert goers running down the arena's stairs in an attempt to get away.
British Transport Police told CNN it was in the process of closing some transport in the area.
Video from near the scene showed a caravan of ambulances heading to the arena.
Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn offered support on Twitter. "Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services."
Musicians such as Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry all offered supportive tweets.
Perry tweeted Monday that she is "Praying for everyone at @ArianaGrande's show."
Praying for everyone at @ArianaGrande's show
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) May 22, 2017
The Dangerous Woman Tour is the third concert tour by Grande to support her third studio album, Dangerous Woman. The tour began on February 3, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Grande's role as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon's high school sitcom "Victorious" propelled her to teen idol status, starting in 2010.
The 23-year-old Grande, with her signature high ponytail, went on to also star in spinoffs that included "iCarly," as she worked to develop her recording career.
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, Australia and more.
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY😭 pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— ♡hannah♡ (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
— ABC News (@ABC) May 22, 2017