May 23, 2017


22 Dead After Ariana Grande Concert Explosion, ISIS Claiming Responsibility

Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Update 2 (May 23, 10:15AM): The death toll has risen to 22 fatalities with 59 others injured, according to Manchester police. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for the horrific explosions, but as of now there is no evidence. Authorities state the suicide bomber died when he "detonated an improvised explosive device near one of the venue's exits at 10:33 p.m. local time (5:33 p.m. ET)" on Monday night.

Update 1 (May 22, 8:30PM): Manchester officials announced that 19 people are confirmed dead, with 50 others injured after the concert incident.

Original story (May 22, 8:20PM): Ariana Grande's concert at U.K.'s Manchester Arena tonight (May 22) ended in tragedy after two “loud bangs” were reported, which led to a mass evacuation. Emergency services are currently responding, according to Greater Manchester Police department.

"There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please AVOID the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene. Details of a casualty bureau will follow as soon as possible," their statement reads. Based on NBC News' reports, at least 20 people were killed with  "hundreds" of others injured. Grande herself has not issued any statements, but Billboard's sources claim the pop star is unharmed. "Ariana is okay," her representative said. "We are further investigating what happened."

The concert's supporting act BIA also confirmed their safety. "GUYS WE ARE OKAY !!! THANK YOU WE LOVE YOU," she tweeted. Emergency crew members rushed to the scene after the explosions, which were first reported about 10:40 p.m. GMT (or 5:40 p.m. ET). As of now, there is no explanation as to what caused the blasts or the motive behind them. But senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities state the initial explosion occurred on the southwest side opposite the local train station.

22-year-old Majid Khan, one of the concertgoers, recalled the incident to The Independent:

"I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10:40, 10:45pm-ish, a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena ... 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 Trinity Way and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could."

We will continue to update this story with more details as it develops. 

See Ariana Grande's interview with Fuse at the 2015 GRAMMYs: