Europe

Man claims Manchester Arena bombing response all wrong

Manchester Arena survivor says 'it just seemed to last forever'

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The Manchester Arena bombing response was “all wrong”, a man who fought to save a victim of the 2017 atrocity has claimed. His comments came ahead of a major new report into the attack.

The bombing occurred in the Manchester Arena after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande and resulted in 22 deaths – plus that of the suicide bomber – and more than 100 injuries, not to mention the long-term impact on those others present in the arena.

Islamic State claimed responsibility, but police said they believed the attacker and his brother acted independently.

Following the attack, a public inquiry heard that a security guard had a “bad feeling” about Salman Abedi, the bomber, but did not approach him for fear of being branded a racist.

Volume Two of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report will today be released, detailing the Chairman’s findings and recommendations on the emergency response to the attack.

One man who fought to save a victim of the bombing has now pointed to “big mistakes” on the night of the attack.

Ron Blake was himself injured during the event but battled to save victim John Atkinson, 28, who later died.

Mr Blake called 999 less than a minute after the explosion and, despite having no first aid training tended to Mr Atkinson after seeing he was losing a lot of blood.

The young man was not seen by paramedics for 47 minutes, Mr Blake told the BBC, which he said “seemed to last forever”.

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The broadcaster reported that the inquiry has heard Mr Atkinson would have had “quite a high” survival chance had he been treated more quickly.

While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, Mr Blake used his wife’s belt as a tourniquet, having seen this done on television, and held it on Mr Atkinson’s leg for almost an hour.

Mr Blake said he believed “big mistakes were made that night” and that those in charge had “got it all wrong”.

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On waiting for medical help, he told the BBC: “It just seemed to last forever. It seemed to go on and on and on and no-one was coming so I just kept trying to talk to John.

“He kept saying ‘I’m going to die, aren’t I?’ I kept saying ‘no you are not’.”

Mr Atkinson’s family has praised Mr Blake’s “heroic” efforts to save their loved one.

More than 240 emergency calls were made on the night, and 60 ambulances and 400 police officers attended the scene.

The Prince and Princess of Wales earlier this year officially opened a memorial to the victims of the attack.

Tonight’s is the second of three official reports on the Manchester Arena Bombing.

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