Key events in the emergency response to the Manchester Arena attack

Here is a timeline of the key events in the emergency response in the minutes and hours after the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 innocent bystanders and injured hundreds more.

May 22, 2017

6pm – Doors open for the Ariana Grande concert, and the Arena and surrounds begin filling with the 14,000 people attending the show.

9.29pm – Salman Abedi begins his final journey to the City Room, after twice visiting the area earlier in the evening on ‘hostile reconnaissance’.

10.31pm – Abedi detonates his rucksack bomb packed with shrapnel in the packed City Room foyer of the Arena.

Most of the 22 killed die shortly afterwards from unsurvivable injuries. 999 calls are made almost instantly after the blast.

Manchester Arena attack anniversary
Armed police at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande (Peter Byrne/PA)

10.34pm – North West Fire Control is first notified of the bombing and mass casualties. They also, wrongly, receive reports of an “active shooter”.

10.41pm – Within the first two minutes a British Transport Police (BTP) officer is on scene and within 10 minutes, at least 12 BTP officers had reached or were in the immediate vicinity of the City Room.

10.45pm – Greater Manchester Police (GMP) declare Operation Plato, a pre-planned response to a suspected marauding terrorist firearms attack (MTFA), later proved false.

10.46pm – North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) declare a major incident but believe an active shooter is also on the rampage.

10.50pm – First paramedic arrives on scene in the City Room but is the only one there for the first 40 minutes after the blast.

10.55pm – A BTP officer calls his control room asking: “Where’s our ambulances please?” The controller responds: “We don’t know, we are calling them again.”

11.00pm – Ambulances begin to arrive at the Arena but paramedics do not deploy en masse to the City Room.

11.00pm – Sergeant Kam Hare and his team from the Tactical Aid Unit of GMP, who is in the City Room tells a Pc, “We need the f****** medics!”

11.02pm – A GMP officer calls his control saying: “We need paramedics like f****** yesterday!”

Manchester Arena attack anniversary
Police at the Manchester Arena where suicide bomber Salman Abedi set off his bomb, killing 22 people (Peter Byrne/PA)

11.10pm – Eight ambulances are by now on scene but only one paramedic actually enters the City Room. Only one person is taken out on a makeshift stretcher in the first 40 minutes.

11.12pm – NWAS Hazardous Area Response Team, with specialist equipment and training arrives 43 minutes after the explosion.

11.17pm – John Atkinson, 28, is evacuated from the City Room on a makeshift stretcher, 46 minutes after the blast, to a triage area at Victoria Station, where he remains for another 24 minutes.

11.23pm – An ambulance transporting Saffie-Rose Roussos arrives at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – 52 minutes after the bombing.

11.40pm – Saffie is declared dead.

11.47pm – John Atkinson goes into cardiac arrest from blood loss as he is taken away from the Arena by ambulance.

11.52pm – The final casualty is evacuated from the City Room on a makeshift stretcher made from cardboard and a crowd barrier, one hour and 20 minutes after the explosion.

May 23

12.24am – John Atkinson is declared dead at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

12.27am – Sgt Hare’s bodycam footage is switched off, shortly before he is recorded saying: “F****** hell, we weren’t ready for this, were we.”

12.37am – The first fire engine arrives on scene, two hours and six minutes after the bombing. Some firefighters had been close enough to hear the bomb go off.

1.00am – GMP officially declare a major incident, two and a half hours after the blast.

1.00am – The BTP bronze commander, tasked with co-ordinating events at ground level, arrives at the Arena.