Ariana Grande Concert Attack Eyewitnesses Describe the Chaos: 'We Just Saw People Dropping'

As police in Manchester, England, continue their search for suspects in Monday night's (May 22) suicide bomber attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left at least 22 dead and 59 people injured, witnesses to the chaos described the terrifying scene that followed a loud explosion outside of Manchester Arena at 10:30 p.m. local time.

With many still too shaken to fully process their thoughts, Billboard spoke to a number of witnesses to the incident.

"First of all, we heard a massive bang and you could hear screaming," said a male teenager standing by himself outside of a hotel entrance around 200 meters from the arena. "We looked up to where we’d seen it coming from and people everyone was just diving over each to try and get to the exits. A siren just said evacuate the building. As we got out, ambulances and police started pulling up and there were sirens were going off. It sounded like a bomb or a gun shot. It was just really bad."

A teenage couple in the same area also described the panic that set in after the explosion. "An explosion went off. We was on the side [of the venue]. Everyone started running and we just saw people dropping," said the woman. "As we were running out everyone was crying their eyes out. We saw blood on the walls and stuff. [Breaks down crying] It’s just really scary. We’re miles away from home and we just don’t feel safe. Little kids were crying."

Her companion said Grande had just finished singing the final song in her set, "Dangerous Woman," and as they walked up the steps they heard a massive bang sound from the back of the arena, opposite the stage. "And everyone started screaming and running," he said. "I lost her and my friend and then all the staff came out. We just saw people falling -- I don’t know whether that was from people getting knocked over. It was just before we left the actual hall itself. I lost my friends so I ran outside. There was a bridge around the corner so I was just hiding under there as people ran past. I was really scared."

A middle-aged mother who'd traveled from Isle of the Man to Manchester so her two girls could see the show said she and her partner were eating a meal at a restaurant near the venue when the girls called them to report what had happened.    

“We’d let the girls go to the concert and were having a nice meal," she said. "We got a frantic call and we were absolutely distraught. But luckily the girls ran to the Travel Lodge hotel and we were able to get them, but I know there was a lot of really, really upset and traumatized people. It was horrible. The girls were very upset. we’ve walked everywhere to try and get back to the hotel where we’re staying but I don't think we’ll be able to get through."

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