Manchester survivor ‘wanted to shout’ at Police as she blames response

Manchester Arena survivor says she 'wanted to shout' at the Police

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Five years after a deadly bomb attack claimed 22 lives in Manchester Arena, a second report into the emergency services’ response denounced a series of mistakes made during the terrorist attack perpetrated in 2017. The police were reportedly found to be “grossly deficient”, a QC representing the bereaved families told the inquiry. Survivor Andrea Bradbury, a former counterterrorism officer, said she could see firsthand the unpreparedness of emergency respondents as she was caught in the bombing while collecting her daughter from Ariana Grande’s concert.

Despite being injured herself, she travelled to Greater Manchester Police headquarters to find out how officers were planning to respond to the mass-casualty incident.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I just wanted to shout at them. I am an inspector from the counterterrorism branch with a vast experience in contingency planning. 

“And I was in the middle of it. A police officer flashed away a warrant card at me. 

“I again said, ‘I’m Andrea Bradbury. This is what you’ve got. I gave him a quick synopsis.

“And that person drove off into the sunset.”

Ron Blake also witnessed the emergency services’ incompetence when he tried to save concert-goer John Atkinson for the best part of an hour.

Mr Blake told the BBC he believes “big mistakes were made that night” of the blast and those in charge had “got it all wrong”. 

He said: “It just seemed to last forever, seemed to go on and on and on. And nobody was coming. I just kept talking to John. He kept saying, ‘I’m going to die, aren’t I?'”

“I kept saying, ‘No, you’re not’.”

Mr Blake left Mr Atkinson’s side after an hour as medics arrived on the scene but later found out he had died when watching the news while he was in the hospital’s waiting room the following day

A firefighter, speaking anonymously to the BBC for fear of losing his job, admitted the response was “embarrassing” and “shameful”. He said firefighters “just waited and waited for instructions”, adding he is now feeling guilt. 

The police were reportedly in disarray, paramedics mostly stayed out of the blast area and the fire service didn’t respond at all for more than two hours. Firefighters were held back at the station three miles away.

The emergency services “wholly failed to work together”, with the police said to be “grossly deficient”. 

The bomb attack happened on May 22, 2017 at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.

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An Islamist extremist suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb as people were leaving the Manchester Arena.

Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and over 1,000 concert-goers were injured, many of them children. 

The bomber was later identified as Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old local man of Libyan ancestry.

In March 2020, his brother was found guilty of 22 counts of murder and attempting to murder 1,017 others, and was sentenced to prison.

The bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack and the first suicide bombing in Britain since the July 7, 2005 London bombings.

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