Nineteen people have died after a blast tore through a pop concert at Manchester Arena in a suspected terror attack, police have said.
Greater Manchester Police said that around 50 other people were injured in the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert.
The force said in a statement: “This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”
The police update said: “Just before 10.35pm on Monday 22 May 2017, police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena.
“So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured.
“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”
Witnesses reported hearing a “huge bang” at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig on Monday evening.
The area around the arena was swamped with police and emergency services. Approach roads have been closed by police. Witnesses said they heard two loud bangs inside the arena and coming from where the bars are located.
Manchester’s Victoria station, which backs onto the arena, has been evacuated and all trains cancelled. One fan at the concert described how the explosion hit the venue as fans were leaving the building.
Manchester Arena said the explosion happened “outside the venue in a public space”.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims,” it said.
Majid Khan, 22, said: “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.
“Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.”
I just freaked. Everyone started screaming. We did not see any explosion but it smelt bad, like burning.An eye-witness at Manchester Arena
Jade Baynes, 18, from Hull, was told to run from the area by armed police after leaving the concert arena.
She said she heard loud bangs and what sounded like gunshots just after the entertainment had finished.
She added: “There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out. An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm but leave as quickly as possible.”
Jade and her friend Jasmine Mia, 21, also from Hull, said there appeared to be some sort of commotion in the first tier of the arena, with a number of stewards stood around the seats.
Armed police swamped the streets around the arena and police were moving members of the public away from the area.
Another concert-goer, a woman with her husband and three young children, said as the concert ended here was a loud bang and everyone leaving the venue then rushed back in.
She said: “I just freaked. Everyone started screaming. We did not see any explosion but it smelt bad, like burning.”
Several people on the streets who had been to the gig were visibly upset and in tears and did not want to speak.
The ambulance service warned people only to call “for life threatening emergencies” and said a “large number of resources” were at the incident.