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Home News Report finds ‘fatal’ errors after Manchester terror attack

Report finds ‘fatal’ errors after Manchester terror attack

Published on 03/11/2022
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A report Thursday strongly criticised the emergency response to a 2017 terror attack in Manchester, saying that with better care, at least one of the 22 victims would have survived.

A suicide bomber targeted people attending an Ariana Grande concert at the indoor arena in the city in northern England on May 22, 2017.

John Saunders, a retired judge leading the public inquiry, on Thursday presented the second part of his damning report.

He said he was “highly critical of many aspects of the rescue operation” and aimed to stop the same mistakes being repeated.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded with a tweet offering his “solemn commitment to the victims, survivors and their loved ones that we will learn from the lessons of the inquiry”.

The report condemned a lack of coordination between emergency services and police, with paramedics located nearby unable to treat victims because police were slow to declare the area safe.

“That would have resulted in a much swifter treatment and swifter and more appropriate evacuation of casualties,” Saunders said.

He recalled “heartbreaking evidence of the injured and the rescuers”.

“Hearing the sirens of ambulances, knowing paramedics were close by, expecting their imminent arrival, only for them not to arrive in the sort of numbers which were needed.”

Saunders said a programme to improve coordination between police and emergency services, introduced after the July 2005 bombings in London, “failed almost completely”.

The distressing report focuses on one of the victims, 28-year-old John Atkinson, who did not receive qualified medical care for severe leg wounds for almost an hour after the attack and died after going into cardiac arrest.

Initially treated by a member of the public with a makeshift tourniquet, Atkinson lay conscious and in severe pain and was eventually carried by police and members of the public to an area where paramedics were working, 52 minutes after the bombing.

Not knowing that nearby ambulances had stretchers, they carried him on an advertising board and a metal barrier.

“Some of what went wrong had serious, and in the case of John Atkinson, fatal consequences,” the report said.

Saunders said he accepted expert opinion that Atkinson “would have survived if given prompt and expert medical treatment”, while another victim would have had a small chance of survival.

The report said that due to fears over safety, the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service also delayed deploying firefighters to the scene, while they could have helped evacuate victims and give first aid.

– ‘Wholly inadequate’ –

The emergency services said they accepted the report’s findings.

Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Stephen Watson said in a statement that the force’s “combined failings were significant”.

The North West Ambulance Service chief Daren Mochrie expressed “deep regret,” saying “we accept that more of our staff should have been deployed” into the City Room public area outside the Arena where victims were lying.

Greater Manchester’s Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel said in a statement: “Our response that night was wholly inadequate and totally ineffective”.

Saunders said he would meet interior minister Suella Braverman over the report.

She tweeted: “I will carefully consider the recommendations made so far to strengthen our response.”