Manchester Arena bombing victim was evacuated from scene 46 minutes after blast

A victim of the Manchester Arena bombing was only evacuated from the scene 46 minutes after the blast.

And CPR on John Atkinson, 28, who died, only started an hour and 15 minutes later, a public inquiry heard.

The response of the emergency services came under the spotlight on the second day of the inquiry in Manchester.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: “The issue of John Atkinson’s survivability is a significant issue for to consider.”

The inquiry also heard:

  • The first paramedic arrived on scene in the City Room 19 minutes after the blast and was the only one there for the first 40 minutes.
  • Only one stretcher was used during the incident, the hundreds of others injured being ferried using crash barriers, makeshift carriers or carried in arms.
  • The fire service, which did have stretchers, only arrived on scene two hours and six minutes after the bomb went off.
  • A terror training exercise, matching the real thing, had taken place in the City Room less than a year before the bombing.

Mr Greaney said it was important to acknowledge the huge pressure and the “agony of the moment” emergency service personnel were working under at the time.

“Within the first 10 minutes, at least 12 BTP officers had reached or were in the immediate vicinity of the City Room,” he said.

“Those who entered offered assistance to the people they encountered.

“The inquiry may in due course conclude that in behaving as they did, they showed the very best of humanity, acting selflessly and without apparent regard for the dangers they themselves might be in in order to seek to help those who needed it.”

Mr Greaney said three experts who have looked at the policing response concluded “that none of the three levels of British Transport Police (BTP) command appeared to exert any multi-agency or effective scene command”.

  • Manchester Arena bombing plotter Hashem Abedi refuses to leave cell as he gets 55 years

BTP had control at the arena as the land is owned by Network Rail.

But, he said, BTP “did not maintain any emergency plan for the arena nor does it appear that they were aware of the Greater Manchester Police contingency plan”.

Mr Atkinson was one of the 22 murdered and hundreds injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande, inset, in 2017.

The inquiry, scheduled to last into next Spring, continues.

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