Great Britain

Manchester Arena stewards used souvenir T-shirts to cover bodies and dress wounds after bombing, inquiry hears

Stewards used souvenir T-shirts to dress wounds and cover bodies after the Manchester Arena bombing, an inquiry has heard.

Around a dozen staff employed by security provider Showsec were among those caught up in the terror attack on 22 May 2017, which killed 22 victims and injured hundreds more.

In a statement read to the public inquiry into the bombing, supervisor Jordan Beak said he grabbed a pile of T-shirts from the merchandise stall to cover bodies, and to use as dressings to be applied to wounds.

He described how he returned to the site of the blast, in the City Room linking the arena to Manchester Victoria railway station with a police officer to treat people using first aid kits.

Mr Beak recalled holding an injured woman’s hand to comfort her, before helping evacuate her on a makeshift stretcher.

Wednesday’s hearing was told how other stewards helped keep casualties conscious, staunched blood loss, dressed wounds and covered up bodies after the bombing.

David Middleton, a Showsec safety steward supervisor, said he was knocked to the ground after “an enormous bang and a flash” of light.

His statement said that he diverted Ariana Grande fans away from door leading to the City Room, before heading back to the blast site.

“I spoke to two males who had leg injuries. I advised them medics would be with them shortly,” Mr Middleton added. “The police then demanded we left the building.”

On the way out, he saw a teenage girl having a panic attack and used a souvenir bag to help her breathe.

Steward Megan Balmer, who assisted several casualties, described dressing wounds, speaking to a female casualty, “trying to keep her responsive”, and using padding to soak up blood and staunch bleeding.

Cathedral remembers Manchester Arena bombing victims

Nicholas de la Poer, counsel to the inquiry, said: “Ms Balmer held her head and stroked her hair to try to comfort her while medics treated her leg injuries.“

She also used her own belt to fashion a tourniquet and comforted another injured woman, the hearing was told.

Akeel Butt, another Showsec supervisor, told how he “helped anyone he could”, tearing down some boards on the walls to make makeshift stretchers, covering bodies, moving bodies and carrying those who couldn't walk to awaiting ambulances.

The inquiry has previously heard that only three paramedics entered the City Room to treat casualties, with the first arriving over 20 minutes after the blast.

Some injured victims were not taken to hospital by ambulance for three-and-a-half hours.

The inquiry is examining the emergency response to the attack, as well as the monitoring of bomber Salman Abedi and whether it could have been prevented.

It will release the first part of its report - on the security arrangements at the arena - on Thursday.

Additional reporting by PA

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