Manchester Arena bombing inquiry: Brother of schoolgirl who died recalls how parents rushed to scene

·6-min read

The brother of a schoolgirl who died in the Manchester Arena bombing has described how their parents rushed to the scene of the explosion and desperately tried to get them help.

Bradley Hurley, who had broken both his legs, thought he might also die as he had to wait more than four hours to be taken to hospital, knowing that his 15-year-old sister, Megan, had been killed in the blast, he told the inquiry.

He and his sister had gone to the gig from their home in Liverpool and they walked into the foyer seconds before Salman Abedi, who was two to four metres away, detonated his bomb - just as Bradley took his phone from his pocket to ring their parents and arrange where to meet them.

His parents, who had been waiting to pick them up from the concert, rushed into the City Room foyer where the bomb had gone off to be by their side and desperately tried to get medical help for both.

"I thought I had collapsed or had a heart attack or something like that. All my senses were confused," he said.

"I don't remember flying through the air, just that I was on the floor after the brightness faded.

"The instant thing I wanted to do was stand up and I felt this shooting pain go through me from the bottom of my legs to the top. I knew my legs were broken. I couldn't stand up or even move them.

"My knees were bent toward me, my vision was blurred, and I could see a bright light like someone takes a photo and my hearing was like I was underwater.

"It was silent for a second and then it went into screaming but everything was distorted."

He added that "the first thing after composing myself was to look at Megan and she wasn't moving and I knew straight away that she had died".

"She wasn't breathing. I just feel like I knew very quickly after it happened. I shouted her name as loud as I could to provoke a reaction," he said.

"At one point I turned her and she looked awful and I knew she had gone. I tried to get a pulse and couldn't."

His father rushed to the scene and was beside his children two minutes later.

"My mum said, 'what's going on', and I said the same thing and she said, 'stay clam your dad's coming,'" he recalled.

"She said, 'Is Megan ok?' I told her on the phone that Megan had died

"I have never seen my dad act like that. It was shock and numbness. It was so horrible to see people in that situation, and the way they react. I didn't know what to say."

Another survivor, who was left paralysed, described how he saw his daughter covered up and left for dead as they waited nearly two hours to be taken to hospital.

Martin Hibbert, 44, from Bolton, Lancashire, told the inquiry that he was determined not to allow the "catastrophic" emergency response to be ignored.

He said it was an "insult to our injuries that medals were given when their professional and moral duty was not acted on".

It comes the day after former Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins claimed that all the bombing casualties had been evacuated in an hour and eight minutes - far shorter than the time Mr Hibbert said it took for him and his daughter to be taken to hospital.

Mr Hibbert had left the concert with his 14-year-old daughter Eve, who survived the explosion, seconds before the bomb went off in the City Room foyer.

It is only from the public inquiry that Mr Hibbert has realised that he was just five metres from the bomber when he detonated his device.

"It beggars belief how we are still here given our proximity to Abedi," he told the inquiry.

"I felt like I had been hit by a 10-tonne truck. I was panicking because I couldn't breathe. I remember falling to the ground. I didn't know at the time I had suffered so many injuries but I knew I was losing a lot of blood."

He looked over and saw his 14-year-old daughter Eve lying a few feet away, "almost like she had been shot through the head" and bleeding from the mouth.

"She was gasping for breath and she was dying on front of my eyes and I knew I was dying," he said.

"I wasn't panicking. [I thought] you have one job to do now and that's to make sure she gets out."

Mr Hibbert had suffered 22 shrapnel wounds, two of which had hit him in the centre of his back, severing his spinal cord and paralysing him from the waist down.

Another piece of shrapnel had severed two of the arteries in his neck and he had suffered shrapnel wounds to his buttocks and legs, injuring his tibia and fibia bones and shattering his ankles.

He had shielded his daughter from the worst of the blast but a few pieces of shrapnel had hit her ankles and a single bolt had struck her head, causing a "very significant brain injury".

"I looked over one moment she was there, I could see her and the next minute she was fully covered," he said.

Mr Hibbert told the inquiry: "People thought she had died, even though I knew she was dying, she was still breathing almost gasping for breath.

"A frustration of mine was if I had lost consciousness Eve might not be here."

Mr Hibbert was taken to hospital two hours after the explosion and his daughter was taken to hospital at 12:18pm, an hour and 47 minutes after the explosion.

"Given where we were, the blood I had lost and injuries Eve had, and that we were still there two hours later, there are just no words for it," he said.

Mr Hibbert was sent to Withington Hospital, a half-hour drive away, but he started vomiting blood and paramedics Paul Harvey and Michal Walczak realised he would not make it.

He said: "Paul knew I probably wouldn't survive that journey and he chose to ignore that and take me to Salford Royal where there is a major trauma unit and get the correct help

"I owe Paul my life. He made a life-saving decision."

Initially when he went to visit his daughter in Manchester Children's Hospital, he was told she would probably be in a vegetative state, not able to hear or move.

But she can now see, hear, talk and eat unaided.

He told the inquiry: "I am proud of the dignity with which the survivors and victims have behaved. The bereaved families are central to my thoughts and prayers.

"I am alive and I am here and I will take it because I know 22 families weren't so lucky."

Mr Hibbert said he still struggles with PTSD and depression and talked of the "ripple effect" on his wife, his former partner, and his friends.

"Some days it is a greater battle than the spinal cord injury," he added. "But every day is a new day."

The inquiry continues.

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