A massive bang, smoke, people covered in blood and sheer panic – an Amble teenager caught up in Manchester’s bomb attack has relived the terrifying ordeal, describing the horrific scenes as carnage.
Kai Brown, 19, was heading for the foyer after the ‘amazing’ Ariana Grande concert when his dream night turned into a nightmare, when a terrorist detonated a homemade device packed with nuts and bolts.
The devastating explosion at the Manchester Arena on Monday night killed 22 people, including an eight-year-old girl, and left many more injured, while several others are still missing.
In the wake of the attack, Britain has been placed on critical terror alert and almost 1,000 troops have been deployed to key locations across the UK to bolster police forces amid fears that the attacker Salman Abedi did not act alone.
Kai and his friend Ryan Morrison – also from Amble – witnessed the devastating aftermath and were both caught up in the sheer panic as concert-goers tried to flee.
Northumbria University student Kai admits he feels lucky to be alive and says he can’t get some of the horrific images of people covered in blood out of his mind.
During an emotional interview with the Gazette yesterday, he said: “It is just horrible. It was carnage. There was screaming, shouting and crying and people covered in blood. I was terrified.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. It doesn’t feel real – I don’t want it to be real. I want to forget about it and pretend it didn’t happen.”
Describing the moments leading up to the explosion, Kai said: “Ariana finished singing the last song of the night – it was an amazing concert. I was sitting four rows from the stage.
“We were meeting friends at the foyer – close to where the bomb went off – and as we were making our way out, there was this massive bang and there was all of this smoke.
“We didn’t know what it was, but people were saying that there had been a bomb, and then we saw people running towards us. People were covered in blood.
“Everybody started to run back into the arena. There was a lot of pushing and pulling. It was carnage, just crazy.”
Kai was injured in the ensuing panic. Describing the scene, he said: “There were kids there, some as young as four, and there were lots of children standing there not knowing what to do because they had lost their parents.
“I saw many people pushing past each other, standing on top of each other and I saw many people being hurt and pushed against walls.
“Somebody pushed me from behind. My foot got stuck and I’ve got a bruised ankle.”
Kai says he was also worried about his friends. “We thought what happens if our friends – who are from Newcastle and are younger than us – had been by the attacker and we started to get really upset. We couldn’t get in contact with them for ages, but thankfully they were safe.”
He praised the actions of the emergency services and security personnel.
The incident has had a big impact on Kai, who works at Alnwick Castle. He said: “I have been a fan of Ariana Grande for years. It was the first time I had seen her and my first time in Manchester. But now I’m pretty scared of going back to places. I need time to get over this.
“I am devastated that so many families have lost loved ones. You go to a concert expecting to be safe. The attacker is a horrible coward and this never should have happened.
“I’m very lucky I escaped with just a bruised ankle and my prayers go out to all those who were killed.”
Kai and Ryan weren’t the only ones from Northumberland who were at the concert.
A Widdrington mum – who did not want to be named – was picking up her daughter and friend after the event.
They came out of the arena at the opposite end to where the explosion occurred and did not see or hear anything. They only realised that something had happened when they saw police outside.
But the mum said that she has never felt so worried and feels lucky that her daughter and friend were okay, but is devastated for those not so fortunate.