Wigan schoolgirl tells of Manchester bombing horror
A Wigan schoolgirl caught up in the Manchester Arena bomb outrage has told of her distress as she and a friend fled the carnage.
Lucie O’Mara spoke just hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in the city venue’s foyer at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
Lucie and fellow Up Holland High School pupil Millie Howarth were preparing to leave when a huge blast rocked the building at around 10.30pm on Monday.
She spoke of the initial confusion, then panic, a stampede for the exits and the scenes of horror and confusion outside, with bloodied casualties treated all around her and distraught members of the public frantically searching for their loved ones.
The 16-year-olds, thankfully, escaped unscathed but there were 20 minutes after the blast when Lucie’s mum Gill, who had come to collect them, feared the worst before they were reunited.
Lucie said: “I still can’t get my head round it. The image that sticks in my head is of a woman running up to everyone, complete strangers, outside the arena, really distressed, asking if anyone had seen her daughter.
“It all happened so quickly. The show had finished and the lights came up and people were standing up to leave when there was this huge ‘boom.’
“We assumed it was a bomb from the start and the stage managers shouted for everyone to run. Everyone was screaming and running as fast as they could. Because we were on a lower tier, we had to go up stairs before we could go down for the exits.
“I was thinking of Hillsborough when lots of people were trying to squeeze through quite small doors but I don’t think anyone fell or got trampled. It was a real crush though.
“Outside there were a lot of people injured and ambulances were everywhere. There were people on the floor with bandages and blood and a lot of screaming from people who had lost their children.
“There was woman near the park with her face full of blood.
“At first what had happened didn’t really sink in but when I got out I had a panic attack and cried a lot.”