08 Sep Manchester Arena bombing: Delays in emergency response may have cost lives, inquiry hears | UK News
Delays getting paramedics and emergency responders into the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing may have cost lives, a public inquiry has heard.
It was 19 minutes after the explosion before the first paramedic got into the foyer of the Arena, where people were dying and critically injured.
The public inquiry into the atrocity heard that a “significant issue” is whether some people who died could have survived, had they received medical help faster.
One victim, John Atkinson, was moved from the scene 46 minutes after the explosion took place, it was another half an hour before chest compressions were started.
His “survivability” will be one of many important issues the inquiry will consider.
Minute-by-minute images from CCTV were shown, pinpointing emergency responders arriving at the arena.
The suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, detonated the bomb in his backpack at 10:31pm in the City Room, a public thoroughfare where people accessed the arena. At the time the Ariana Grande concert was coming to an end.
British Transport Police officer, PC Jessica Bullough, said in a statement: “I ran into the City Room and I can only describe it as a war zone there.
“There were a number of casualties on the floor, blood everywhere and the whole place was smoky and, in my words, was carnage…there were nuts and bolts scattered everywhere.”
The bomb killed 22 people, injured hundreds of others, and many more suffered deep psychological injuries from what they saw.
Survivors have long questioned why it took so long to get emergency responders in to help people.
One police firearms officer made a call to colleagues and said: “We just need more ambo (ambulance) staff, paramedics, anyone they can get hold of please.”
More ambulance teams did arrive in the following hour but crews of firefighters were not allowed in to help until two hours and six minutes after the explosion.
During that time the police were also receiving multiple reports of other potentially linked incidents around Greater Manchester, including a suspicious package at a hospital and a potential second terrorist.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel in the inquiry, said: “It is important we acknowledge the pressure that those who responded to the attack at the Manchester Arena came under.
“It must, we acknowledge, have been enormous.
“Which of us who were not there and not required to make critical decisions in the agony of the moment can understand what that felt like?”
British Transport Police declared a major incident that night at 10:39pm, but will be criticised during expert evidence for not immediately sharing that information with Greater Manchester Police.
The inquiry will also examine whether police learned enough lessons from a training exercise ten months earlier which anticipated a marauding firearms terrorist attack in the area around the Arena.
Mr Greaney said that the inquiry, which will run into spring 2021, would “probe deeply, but fairly, into what happened.”
The suicide bomber’s brother, Hashem Abedi, was jailed last month for a minimum of 55 years for his role in building the bomb.