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Manchester Arena Bombing: Terrible 999 call overheard by a public inquiry


On the second day of the public investigation into the attack, a desperate call of 999 was played from a member of the public treating a dying victim of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Ronald Blake tried to help 28-year-old John Atkinson, who was caught in the explosion of suicide bomber Salman Abedi in the City Rooms, the foyer of the arena.

Mr Blake rang the doorbell within seconds of the explosion as he tried to comfort Mr Atkinson and alert the emergency services.

"There was an explosion in the Manchester Arena in the foyer," Blake told the 999 answering machine.

& # 39; There are loads injured. It's manic. Big explosion. I'm with a man now who is hurt. & # 39;

Then you hear Mr. Blake say to Mr. Atkinson, “Okay, buddy. Don't try to move. & # 39;

He goes back to the answering machine: “There are about 30 or 40 injured. I'm with a man who is badly injured. His legs really pump. & # 39;

Mr Blake, who was at the arena that night to pick up his daughter after the Ariana Grande show, was instructed to don a tourniquet and stay on the line when the call was made. The remainder of the eight-minute call was not played.

Ronald Blake tried to help 28-year-old John Atkinson (pictured), who was caught by the explosion of suicide bomber Salman Abedi in the City Rooms, the foyer of the arena, when he made the desperate call for help

On the second day of the public investigation into the 2017 attack on the Manchester Arena, seconds after the explosion, Mr Blake's telephone police could be heard saying, “Many are injured. It's manic. Big explosion. I'm with a man now who is hurt. & # 39;

On the second day of the public investigation into the 2017 attack on the Manchester Arena, seconds after the explosion, Mr Blake's telephone police could be heard saying, “Many are injured. It's manic. Big explosion. I'm with a man now who is hurt. & # 39;

Some of the deceased's relatives wiped away their tears or covered their faces as the call played in the exam room in central Manchester. Mr. Atkinson's family apologized for not hearing the call.

Paul Greaney QC, attorney for the investigation, said Mr. Blake's behavior "showed the best of our community."

However, the call also raised questions about the response from emergency services, particularly the response from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

The 22-year-old Abedi detonated his self-made bomb filled with splinters on May 22, 2017 at 10:31 p.m. when hundreds of young people left the pop concert. Many met with parents who were waiting in the foyer to pick them up. His brother Hashem was jailed last month with a minimum life sentence of 55 years on parole for his part in the conspiracy.

Mr Greaney said the call, "literally seconds" after the explosion, alerted emergency services to mass casualties, and whether NWAS had responded quickly and appropriately should be considered in the investigation.

However, the first paramedic didn't arrive until 19 minutes after the explosion. The hearing was told that 20 minutes later only two other paramedics were called in to treat the injured in the urban spaces.

Mass-casualty vehicles were not used by the NWAS, nor were stretchers used to help the 22 deceased and hundreds injured.

A victim wasn't evacuated from the scene until more than 40 minutes after the explosion, and chest compressions didn't start until more than an hour later, the public investigation into the attack heard.

Sir John said, "Salman Abedi (pictured) blew himself up in the explosion, but he intended that as many people as possible would die with him."

A CCTV image of Salman Abedi at Victoria Station en route to the Manchester Arena on May 22nd 2017 where his bomb exploded

Sir John said, "Salman Abedi (left) blew himself up in the explosion, but he wanted as many people as possible to die with him." Right: A CCTV image of Salman Abedi at Victoria Station en route to the Manchester Arena on May 22nd 2017 where his bomb exploded

Salman Abedi was spotted in the moments before the devastating terrorist attack that killed 22 people on May 22, 2017

Abedi adjusted the wiring in an elevator on the day of the attack

Salman Abedi was spotted in the moments before the devastating terrorist attack that killed 22 people on May 22, 2017

28-year-old John Atkinson was only evacuated from the site of the explosion 46 minutes after the detonation of his self-made bomb, which was packed at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

He was taken on a makeshift stretcher to a triage area of ​​Victoria Station, which is part of the arena venue, and stayed there for an additional 24 minutes, but chest compressions weren't started until an hour and 15 minutes after his initial injury in the blast .

Mr. Atkinson was one of 22 killed and hundreds injured in the attack on May 22, 2017.

Paul Greaney QC, attorney for the investigation, said, "The issue of John Atkinson's viability, as we shall investigate, is an important issue to be considered in the investigation."

He told the investigation that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were unaware of the Ariana Grande concert "at an organizational level" and had made no plans or arrangements for the event.

The investigation also found that GMP's response was "overall good", but police experts pointed to a number of shortcomings, such as the failure to activate contingency plans in a timely manner, the lack of verification of the activation of Operation Plato and the lack of agreements with multiple authorities .

Experts concluded that the NWAS's response to the attack was "insufficient in certain respects".

In another development in the Manchester investigation today:

  • The first paramedic arrived in the city area 19 minutes after the explosion and was the only one there for the first 40 minutes.
  • Only one stretcher was used during the incident, and hundreds of other injured people were carried in guardrails, makeshift carriers, or in weapons.
  • The fire brigade, who had stretchers, didn't arrive until two hours and six minutes after the bomb had been fired.
  • Less than a year before the bombing, a real-life terror training exercise had taken place in the City Room.
  • BTP officer Jessica Bullough, the first female police officer in the City Room less than two minutes after the explosion, described the scene as a "war zone".
  • A desperate 999 call from a member of the public treating a dying victim of the Manchester Arena bombing was played.
CCTV images used as evidence in the investigation of the Manchester Arena show the scene on Station Approach in front of the entrance to Victoria Railway Station following the terrorist attack in the Manchester Arena

CCTV images used as evidence in the investigation of the Manchester Arena show the scene on Station Approach in front of the entrance to Victoria Railway Station following the terrorist attack in the Manchester Arena

Mr Greaney said it was important to recognize the tremendous pressure and agony of the moment under which emergency services personnel were operating at the time.

“Within the first 10 minutes, at least 12 BTP officers had reached or were in the city room,” he said.

Those who entered offered help to the people they met.

"The investigation may in due course conclude that they have shown the best of humanity in their behavior, acting selflessly and with no apparent regard for the dangers they might be in to help those who need it . "

But he added, "What we need to do is look deeply to see if there were any mistakes or shortcomings that need to be exposed so that those left behind may know the truth and real lessons can be learned."

He read from the testimony of BTP officer Jessica Bullough, the first female police officer in the City Room, less than two minutes after the explosion.

It said, “I can only describe it as a war zone. There were a number of bodies on the floor and blood everywhere. The whole place was smoky and, in my words, carnage. & # 39;

She immediately sent a message on the radio: "It's definitely a bomb". She found nuts and bolts scattered around the scene and repeated requests for ambulances and "as many resources as possible".

The investigation also found that GMP's response was "overall good", but police experts pointed to a number of shortcomings, such as the failure to activate contingency plans in a timely manner, the lack of verification of the activation of Operation Plato and the lack of agreements with multiple authorities

The investigation also found that GMP's response was "overall good", but police experts pointed to a number of shortcomings, such as the failure to activate contingency plans in a timely manner, the lack of verification of the activation of Operation Plato and the lack of agreements with multiple authorities

But 24 minutes after the explosion, a radio message was heard from another officer, a Pc Roach, saying, “You are going to hate me. Where are our ambulances please? & # 39;

The controller replied: "We don't know, we'll call you again."

The first fire truck arrived two hours and six minutes after the explosion.

Mr. Greaney added, "An important subject to study is how this came about and whether it made a difference."

He said less than a year before the July 2016 atrocity, Exercise Sherman, which simulated a terrorist attack at City Hall, "exactly what happened 10 months later".

On the timeline outlined by Mr Greaney, he said the British Traffic Police (BTP) reacted to the sound of the explosion "within seconds".

The jury was shown CCTV images of a PC entering, and at 10:33 p.m. a paramedic can be seen making her way to the urban space. The investigation was informed that it is believed to be Elizabeth Woodcock.

Another BTP officer enters Victoria Station at 10:32 p.m., and then two more BTP officers were seen running to the city area.

Mr. Greaney said three PCSOs and eight police officers will arrive 10 minutes after the explosion, Mr. Greaney says. The first armed response from the Greater Manchester police arrived at 10:41 p.m.

At 10:42 p.m. two armed officers were pictured in the arena. A GMP inspector took command of the operation.

At 10:47 p.m. Operation Plato is explained and at 10:49 p.m. Patrick Ennis, an Advanced Paramedic with the North West Ambulance Service, is shown on CCTV at Station Approach.

The investigation was told that armed officers were holding a defensive position in the arena. Counter-terrorism specialists arrived at the arena at 10:54 p.m.

The hearing on the first day heard a witness, Julie Merchant, turned to BTP officer Jessica Bullough (pictured) to point out Salman Abedi about 32 minutes before the fatal bomb attack.

The hearing on the first day heard a witness, Julie Merchant, turned to BTP officer Jessica Bullough (pictured) to point out Salman Abedi about 32 minutes before the fatal bomb attack.

Doctors visited the scene from 11:01 a.m. and an injured person was brought out of the city at 11:03 p.m. During the period from January 11th to November 11th, at least eight ambulances were on site.

An NWAS Hazardous Area Response Team – HART – arrives at 11:14 p.m. and begins moving between the victims.

At 11:17 p.m., John Atkinson was relocated and taken to the entrance of the war memorial. The officers also took Georgina Callander out of the area, who was then looked after by paramedics.

GMP Detective Chief Superintendent Denise Worth arrived at 12:27 p.m. The investigation found that the first fire engine arrived at the Manchester Arena two hours and six minutes after the explosion.

On the first day of the investigation, experts said there were "missed opportunities" to identify Abedi as a threat and take action to stop him, as witnesses allege they told officials that someone acted suspiciously.

A witness, Julie Merchant, reached out to BTP officer Jessica Bullough about 32 minutes before the fatal bomb attack to point out Salman Abedi.

Paul Greaney QC said Ms. Merchant could not remember the details of talking to the officer but was "dealing with prayer and political correctness."

On May 21, the day before the attack, the footage shows Abedi walking into the City Room area of ​​the arena (picture) before sitting on a staircase leading to a mezzanine - apparently on his cell phone

On May 21, the day before the attack, the footage shows Abedi walking into the City Room area of ​​the arena (picture) before sitting on a staircase leading to a mezzanine – apparently on his cell phone

Abedi (pictured on the day of the attack, just before 9 p.m.) fights under the weight of his backpack

Abedi (pictured on the day of the attack, just before 9 p.m.) fights under the weight of his backpack

And a man identified only as Witness A said the suspect looked "out of place" with a large backpack in a crowded place. Another witness, William Drysdale, discovered Abedi in the arena town hall on the night of the attack, and an attendant of Mr. Drysdale then approached Ms. Bullough, the investigation heard.

Before the attack on May 22, 2017, Abedi had carried out several "enemy reconnaissance trips" into the arena and the area outside the arena, in which 22 people died.

His first trip to the arena was on May 18th – the same day he came to the UK from Libya. On this trip, he entered the City Room after wandering around outside of the venue.

In the urban space, surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic youngsters leaving an Ariana Grande concert, his backpack bomb, packed with splinters, exploded, sending thousands of nuts and bolts to shred everything on their way.

On the first day of the public investigation into the terrorist attack, horrific footage was shown showing suicide bomber Abedi struggling under the weight of his backpack and “adjusting” the wiring under his clothing before killing 22 people.

Paul Greaney QC, attorney for the investigation, said a witness spoke to the suspect and asked, "What do you have in your backpack?" but received no answer.

Mr. Greaney added, "(Witness) A then said," It doesn't look very good, you know, you with a bag in a place like this. What are you doing? & # 39; & # 39;

The man replied, “I'm waiting for someone, buddy. Do you have the time What time is it? & # 39;

Abedi's first trip to the arena was on May 18 - the same day he came to the UK from Libya. Pictured: Abedi (back center) is walking towards the stairs that lead to the City Room on his first trip

Abedi's first trip to the arena was on May 18 – the same day he came to the UK from Libya. Pictured: Abedi (back center) is walking towards the stairs that lead to the City Room on his first trip

On this first trip, the footage shows Abedi (white cursor pointing at him) spending two minutes inside, “watching queues in the arena” (picture), before getting on a tram

On this first trip, the footage shows Abedi (white cursor pointing at him) spending two minutes inside, “watching queues in the arena” (picture), before getting on a tram

Witness A then spoke to Mohammed Agha, who was employed by the security company Showsec, but said he had been "fobbed off".

Mohammed Agha then spoke to Kyle Lawler, a colleague at Showsec, about the suspicious man and what they should do.

Mr. Lawler then reportedly tried to radio his security check but was unable to get through. Then he noticed the man get up and walk to the entrance to the arena.

His testimony continued, “I froze and couldn't get anything on the radio. I knew at that point that it was too late. & # 39;

Mr Greaney QC said Showsec staff accounts differ in what happened to "gaps and discrepancies" between their accounts and the CCTV evidence captured in the arena.

Abedi, 22, was reported suspicious to police and security services in the minutes prior to the detonation of his bomb, the investigation heard, but no action was taken.

Mr Greaney said that "based on the information currently available to them, the experts believe that on May 22, the opportunity was missed to identify Salman Abedi as a threat and take mitigating measures".

He said the experts concluded: "If the presence of a potential suicide bomber had been reported, it would be very likely that mitigating measures would have been taken that could have reduced the impact of the attack.

"This is because there was enough time between the first discovery by Abedi and the report to (security) staff and his attack in order to react effectively."

Mr. Greaney said, "The greatest possible care must be taken to examine the evidence of these potentially missed opportunities."

He said whether there were "missed opportunities" to prevent the attack or lessen its lethal impact was an important consideration for the investigation, which began Monday.

The relatives of the 22 people who were killed in the bombing silently remembered as the names of the victims were given at the opening of the hearings.

The dire trial began with Mr. Greaney QC, the investigation's attorney, who read the names of all of the individuals murdered by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017.

Sir John Saunders is leading the public inquiry, expected to take place in the spring of 2021, that looks at events before, during and after the bombing, including the role of the emergency services.

The investigation was postponed until Wednesday morning.

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