Eyewitness describes 'massive bang' at Ariana Grande concert
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: Breaking tonight, you are looking at scenes of panic out of Manchester, England, this evening moments ago, we got word that there were perhaps two explosions at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom. This is an area that is under severe threat
of terrorist attacks, meaning that an attack is always considered highly likely in this area in the U.K. We're getting pictures of people running out of this concert, police have confirmed that there are a number of fatalities involved in this incident.
Obviously, this is breaking news. We are going with the latest information as we are able to check it and get it in but the pictures; I can tell you our horrific, coming out of here. Responders, first responders on the scene, they are talking to people asking them to avoid the area completely. Transportation is shut down in and out of that area, in Manchester England. So we are going to dip into our sister network, Sky News, as well as we go through this coverage because they obviously have the best live pictures. But you can see ambulances firing into the area as we start to get a handle on what happened here.
Obviously, our State Department in recent weeks has put out a terror threat concern for traveling all of Europe over the course of this summer, and this perhaps is exactly the kind of thing that they are concerned about. We have no idea at this point who is the instigator of this incident. We don't know -- we do know according to the reports that Ariana Grande, the performer at this concert is said to be fine, but as I said, it's very fluid situation as we continue to kind of get some of the latest here. Trace Gallagher is also watching this for us. He is in our West Coast newsroom as we continue to get the reports coming in here. Trace, joining us now. Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Just so we don't get ahead of ourselves here, it's very important to go back and kind of understand this thing happened about 10:30 at night local time there in Manchester. The Manchester Arena, for those who don't know, it's really one contiguous building with Victoria Station. You go right from the station right into the arena, one of the busiest venues in the country, in fact in the world for that matter. It's kind of the equivalent of Madison Square Garden in New York and at 10:30 tonight local time right at the end of the Ariana Grande concert; there are reports that people heard at least one and possibly two explosions.
Now, it's important to note that nobody, not a single news agency has confirmed to us that something actually exploded. A witness told the BBC, British Broadcasting, that it was a balloon that blew up into a microphone. But on the flip side of that, you have the Manchester Police confirming, that there are a number of fatalities. Now, if you put these two together, one doesn't necessarily lead to the other because we are also getting eyewitness reports that when this loud bang happened and people who live next to the arena could hear it outside, they said it was one loud bang, others say two loud bangs. There was absolute panic.
You know the climate the way it is in Europe. Here in the United States when you hear a loud explosion, you tend to panic and run for the nearest exit. We do not know if the fatalities, being confirmed by the Manchester police, are in relation to something that exploded and hit people or the panic and maybe these people were trampled. So, we are still waiting to get that. Keep in mind, this thing seats about 21,000 people; Ariana Grande, she's got one of the top-selling albums in the country. This thing was jam-packed. It was right at the end of the concert, so there may have been some people leaving.
But for the sake of argument, the better part of 15 to 20,000 people was inside this arena at the time of this incident, which was calling because quite frankly, we still don't know exactly what it is. But people are on scene, the ambulances you can see, the first responder response has been enormous for the past 40 minutes, we have been watching this online, we have been watching sky news, we've been watching BBC, and the response here is something that you do not see just for a balloon exploding into microphone. But on the flip side, I know they're being very careful. There people inside, they have shut down the area, they have shut down the arena, the train's going to and from Victoria Station are now at a standstill and they are just waiting for someone to come out of the arena and give us some information.
We did see and I should note earlier, Martha, when they had people kind of scanning the arena from the video -- we couldn't see any smoke. We couldn't see any smoke at all and if there was an explosion, you would assume that there would be some smoke and that was invisible at least to my eye and to the eye of some others who are watching the same video. So, we along with you are just waiting for someone to give us some more information about what this potential explosion was all about. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you. And Trace, you make a great point. We don't know what caused this explosion yet and it is possible that it could have been part of something that happened inside and there. Trace, mention the possibility of a balloon that may have hit some sort of electrical wire, and it is possible that that is what caused this. So, we just want to urge everybody to sit tight as we wait for more information. There were some reports that there were two explosive noises, others said there was just one explosion.
And as Trace points out, there doesn't seem to be a lot of smoke on the scene. It's possible that people who were in close proximity to wherever this happened are the ones that we have seen coming out bloodied by it. However, it is also, as everybody is well aware, possible that this may have been some sort of explosion that was planted there. It happened right towards the end of the concert, we are told, and did not injure anybody on the stage as far as we can confirm right now. But we do know according to the U.K. Police and the Manchester Police Force, the second largest in England -- and just look at these images. I mean, obviously, everybody is panicked and they are running out. Let's into our sister network Sky, who is covering now.
CATHERINE MCFARLAND, SKY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: -- I live about 4 miles away from here when I saw a number of ambulances and police cars heading this way -- to the arena. It's very -- you know, it's right in the center of Manchester, it's a peppy area and, and there's more and more police and ambulance that are arriving all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're looking at pictures from inside the concert, there are lots of pink balloons. And you know, despite the fact that now we've had fatalities, at first, people thought it might be pink balloons going off or that a speaker might've blown. And certainly, the information has come through very slowly about what might've caused this, what might've been behind this, and Britain Manchester Police still talking of reports of an explosion, so there's been no confirmation yet that there has been an explosion.
MCFARLAND: Yes, that's right. There is a lot of confusion here with the people who were even inside the arena saying, you know, first, they thought it was a balloon going off, but then thinking about it, it was such a loud noise. You know, how could it have been a balloon? I think the reason they mentioned that is that we have a number of balloons that were used in the concert -- and yes, there's very little information, concrete information. And people here in the arena always and confuses anyone else as to what exactly has happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had the police set up a cordon? Or they're trying to keep people back?
MCFARLAND: Yes, and so the police have set up quite a wide cordon. They're trying to keep people back. You can see, probably these live pictures, more and more police officers arrived saying, there's a lot of people, you know, then to the public who are trying to get through, they were kind of getting a bit frustrated. Yes, there is a large cordon at the moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And give us a sense of the geography of the area. Obviously, the vicinity of Manchester Arena and Manchester Victoria Station, the proximity there that you can easily go between the two, a network rails saying that the train lines are not operating at the moment and won't be for the foreseeable future. Just give us a sense of how it all hangs together there.
MCFARLAND: Yes. So, Victoria Station is really extremely close to the arena. In fact, it's only a short walk away from the station to the arena. When I walked past the station quickly, there were a lot of police officers there on the platform and going off basically telling people to kind of stay clear of the area. So, yes, very close proximity and others said earlier, the arena is right in the city center of Manchester. And so, it is, you know, a very kind of well-built up area, and there's a lot of things close by, and yes, Victoria Station is extremely close.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catherine McFarland telling the Reuters News Agency, where we're working our way out when we were right by the door, there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming, it was a huge explosion; you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and
screaming and just trying to get out of the area. Tell us a bit about the U.S. singer Ariana Grande, and also the capacity of an arena like Manchester Arena. There would've been thousands of people in there, wasn't there?
MCFARLAND: Yes, it's a very big concert venue. You know, all the biggest pop stars go there. I don't know the exact capacity -- at the top of my head, but it certainly a few thousand people. So, yes, it would've been a very popular concert. I might bring in a few people who were in the arena now. See if they can speak to us. I'm from Sky News. Can I just pass on this phone to you? Can you just describe what you heard and all?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, can you hear me now, yes?
ASHLYN: Yes. Basically, there is a massive bang in the arena. And there is loads of people screaming and running and when we all got outside, there was like, loads of screaming and crying. And, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there any smoke or anything, or anything that would indicate what the loud bang was for you?
ASHLYN: Not that we saw, we just then, basically, saw that like loads of people were screaming, coming running out at the arena but all we had is bang waiting for it to be seen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And had the concert finished by then, or people are already beginning to leave?
ASHLYN: Ariana Grande which has gone offstage and a light to come back on and we're all trying to get back out of the arena when it happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what time is it, just after 10:30, 10:40-ish, is that right?
ASHLYN: Yes, about -- yes, 10:30, 10:35-ish.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how did you get out? Which route did you take?
ASHLYN: We were all panicking and rushing. We have to just like hold on to each other to go up. And then when we got out of there, the security in the arena was just telling us to follow the exit to go outside. But when we go outside, we didn't realize anything -- what's actually going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apologies, I don't know -- what name, what name that you -- what's your name, anyway?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ashlyn. Apologies, Ashlyn. And as you were leaving, was there speculation amongst people about what has happened? Did you all immediately think this was some sort of terror incident?
ASHLYN: A few people had said that they had heard -- that right they thought it was a bomb. But we thought that because she had a lot of balloons in her concert that we thought it was just one of them. And people were being like -- just like assuming the worst, but then as we got outside, we realized that it was probably a bit more serious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, at first, you just thought it was some of these many pink balloons that were all over the concert area, yes?
ASHLYN: Yes, because it didn't like -- we couldn't see any smoke or anything. So, we weren't really so sure, but it was only when we got outside that we realized that it was more serious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when you got outside, the police were already there, is that right?
ASHLYN: Yes. There was only one police car at that moment, but like -- it only took a couple of minutes and there was like all the police cars and all of their men. They were telling every that move away from, like, the premises -- and to get away from the site and stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And would you have normally gone home by train? Because obviously Victoria Station has been effectively closed, isn't it?
ASHLYN: We got the tram in town and that's how we would go to be home. But then -- obviously, they've closed it, so we can't get the tram home, and they're waiting to get home now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, how many people are there still trying to get home? Are there still lots of people around?
ASHLYN: There are a few people around and then there's -- I'm just waiting here as much as them waiting to get home, but we're kind of stuck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And are the police, ambulances -- are the ambulances and police still on the scene?
ASHLYN: Yes, they've set cordon to all of on us -- like, loads of police -- I've not seen this many police in ages, in my life, really.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how have you felt through this? I mean, it must've been a terrifying process for all of you.
ASHLYN: At first, we felt like -- we just -- I don't know but, it felt a bit weird. It scared us a bit. And we're like; we're looking then at what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Ashlyn, I hope you get home safely. Thank you very, indeed, much for joining us. If you pass the phone back to our producer, she's with other people there.
ASHLYN: Yes. I will.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much, indeed. Jeremy Corbin has tweeted: "Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and are brilliant emergency services." Mark White, our Home Affairs Correspondent is here with me -- is on the line as well. Are you hearing any further from the police or any other security service, Mark, what actually happened at Manchester Arena?
MARK WHITE, SKY NEWS HOME AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: There is no official information coming out at all for many of the usual sources that might point us in the direction of this being terror-related at this stage. Clearly, reports of an explosion are very worrying in the current climate. But even on that, it's worse -- just really damning to the line reduced by Greater Manchester Police. They say they were responding the reports of an explosion, so they haven't actually, in that sense, confirmed themselves that this was an explosion. But again, you know, it is relatively early on this incident.
About an hour and a half or so ago, this incident unfolded. So, the first priority of the emergency services is to get a handle on the situation, try and reach those who have been injured in any incident, triage the most seriously injured; that they are doing. The fact that they've got a number of fatalities that they've confirmed, tells you that there is a significant incident and there may be quite a number of people who have angered. So, in these incidents, it can take quite a while even for the police themselves to determine what has happened.
And even if it was an explosion, we clearly -- there are multiple reasons that an explosion can occur. It can be electrical, it could have been related to gas leakings, we just don't know at this stage. But what we can say for sure is that here in the U.K., we are under a severe terror threat. That is the second highest level, it's severe. We're told, at the staged -- or we're not being told, I should say, that it's going to rise to critical, at the highest level. Meaning, that they would -- the government, the authorities would fear that were other terrorist attacks that were planned, and no confirmation at all that this is terror-related. But clearly, there's a concern there.
We know it was reports of an explosion that the police were responding to. And also, in terms of the injured, they are being taken away -- the images that we've got on the screen of a fleet ambulances arriving is no surprise. There is a well-rehearsed protocol in major centers -- of the population around the U.K. to ensure that they get the resources to these major critical incidents very quickly. Our British Transport Police had been treating as well as Greater Manchester Police, saying that their officers remain at the scene of Manchester Arena, walking along inside their colleagues. The Greater Manchester Police. The Northwest Ambulance Service and Manchester Fire and Rescue service, they are urging people to avoid the area. We know that rail services have been suspended as well because this incident has happened very, very close to the main rail line which was just by the arena itself. So, people being asked to stay away from the area, understandably people are worried. We are told that Greater Manchester Police were putting a kind of casualty bureau number. I haven't seen the numbers yet, maybe you have. But that will, of course, be over of great concern to many thousands of parents, potentially, because this is a big arena. It can house more than 20,000 people.
And that concert was well attended, we understand. So, there can potentially be a lot of people pretty worried about what's happened to their loved ones. Hopefully, they've all, you know, managed to gather themselves, and call their family to let them know they're safe. Again, with these incidents, people that are a bit shocked really don't think of doing that in the first instant. That's why this casualty bureau should be up and running soon, but as we've seen we await that number.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We certainly haven't seen it here, the casualty bureau numbers, you say, will be released by Greater Manchester Police. And as you mentioned, the Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe opened in 1995. It has a capacity for 21,000 people according to its Web site, and it is a popular concert and sporting venue. A Spokesman for Ariana Grande's record label said the singer was OK. But obviously, a video posted on Twitter showed fans screaming and running out of the venue. Emmerdale Actress, Isabel Hodgins, was at that concert at Manchester Arena. She joins us now live on the phone. Thank you for talking to us. What a difficult evening for everybody --
MACCALLUM: All right. We are going to continue to monitor this from Sky News. James Woolsey was here with us this evening in another story, he's a former Director of the CIA. James, thank you very much, first of all, for being here and for rolling with it in this breaking news story that we have. What does this feel like to you, at this point?
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: Well, first impressions are often wrong when things like this. But it could've been a balloon, which is something that's floated out, but to have panic and people killed and others injured based on something like that is not very British. I mean, my British friends are pretty cool under fire. And if there was a real explosion, a big one, then, everyone can see the crowds panicking into some extent. But I -- I think that it's -- we've got to maintain our distance from it and all of that. But I think, if so many people were injured, one would first look to see what --
MACCALLUM: The reports from the Manchester Police are that they have several confirmed fatalities. We don't have any number on that yet. It is possible that there was some kind of explosion that was of a technical nature and at that because the panic and that perhaps people were trampled or that there was something of that nature that happened as well. So, we just want to keep everybody sort of on the same page at home because there's a lot that we don't know and as we continue to get information, we're going to continue to bring it to you.
But obviously, you know when you hear Manchester, England; a lot of things come to mind. There were three people that were arrested in the Westminster Bridge attack, that were from Manchester. Going back all the way to the two explosions back in July, and several years ago in London, there were also links to individuals who lived in Manchester. So, obviously, it raises some alarm bells right away.
WOOLSEY: There have been some minorities from South Asia and the near East that of involved in several of these events in Manchester. Doesn't say that's true this time, but all these things flowed up to the ones upon.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And also, local people who were born and raised there, whose ancestors were from other places but who were part of some of these other attacks that we've seen. We see there's a large police presence. I mean, obviously, when you're working under a severe terror threat, you're going to get a quick reaction.
WOOLSEY: Right. Right, I have studied in England for a couple of years and I have a great deal of respect for British Law Enforcement, the way they do it. Their demeanor, their coolness under pressure, and they're famous around the world for it. So, this is not the kind of thing that initially, at least, looks like it's an accident with a balloon.
MACCALLUM: Let me bring in Shepard Smith who's standing by at our News Deck. OK, we're going to go to Shepherd in just a moment, but we're watching these scenes from Sky News and last coverage as we continue to bring it to you tonight. And if you're just joining us, it was about 10:30 p.m. in England, in Manchester, England, at an Ariana Grande concert. The concert was finishing, the lights have just come up, people were all starting to move out of their seats when a huge explosion, as it's been described by people who were there on the scene happen.
You can see these panicked concertgoers as they rush out. Shortly after that, there's an enormous police response. This is the second-largest police force in the United Kingdom. So, we started to see the tremendous response from the police there and also the word from the Manchester Police coming across Twitter that there were confirmed fatalities in this explosion. So, obviously a lot sort of swings into motion when you hear all of those things put together. Shepard Smith now joining us from the news deck. Shepard, I know you've been following this up there as well, your thoughts?
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NEWS ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR: Well, we have. We've been streaming this from the very first moment that we heard about this. We went, we went up on our web properties and on the phone and Martha, I got to say, it was the strangest thing. People are reporting what sounded like an explosion and then we're seeing this video -- we're monitoring all the Twitters and the Facebook pages and every other thing you can imagine, and there's no video of anything with smoke, or anything with fire, or anything in the early going of injuries.
And then all of a sudden, authorities report the number of people -- are dead. We -- the best information that we've been able to pull together from multiple trusted sources: there was a huge noise. If you're looking at the screen from this arena, the largest arena of its kind in all of Great Britain, really in all Europe's, seats 21,000. As you look at the stage from the hall, from the venue, it was stage left, it was on the left-hand side of the stage; there was really loud noise. We've seen no one report that they heard anything fall -- that they sell anything to fall, no one report that they saw any explosion.
But one report from one witness on Sky News, just a moment ago in the United Kingdom that she smelled something that smelled like burning. At any rate, this is right at the main train station there. You can walk between the arena and train station, they're set up for that. And a door got blocked and people started sort of trampling each other. Then they shut down the trains for reasons, Martha that is inexplicable to us. In just a moment ago, we got a word from the BBC that they are treating this as a terror incident.
That is not to say that this is an act of terror but to say that they are treating it as if it is so that they'll use all the protocols that are necessary to preserve evidence and the rest. Martha, how are these people killed? We don't know. How are the injuries happen? We don't know that. What was the source of all the confusion and the very loud noise? Again, Martha, we don't know that. This happened an hour and 40 minutes ago in Manchester, England. And were still waiting for first details.
MACCALLUM: You know -- I mean, Shepard, the one thing that we do know is that people are on edge, and there's a lot of concern. As I said before, State Department -- United States State Department alert that went out, basically saying, that they're concerned about travel to Europe. I mean, you know, we have all -- I mean, there's always travel alerts for different countries around the world. There is not typically a Europe-wide travel alert over the course of the summer.
So, you've got people very much on edge. And when something like this happens, it is possible that it was some sort of, as we've been saying, electrical or technical explosion that happened inside that arena, and is also possible that this could be a terror attack and it's quite clear that the response by the police in the U.K. and the shutting down of the train, which you just mentioned, is an effort to, you know, sort of cordon off the area to the extent that they can't, just in case they're looking for somebody out there, but there definitely covering their bases for all of these possibilities right now, Shep.
SMITH: That's exactly right. They had an initial tight cordon around this arena. They've expanded that cordon, and they've expanded that cordon a third time, so the area that's blocked off has gotten much larger. When that alert went out from the State Department to America and Europe, I happen to be in Europe just by happenstance. The security in and around Rome was like nothing I've ever seen it; long guns in all of the historical places in Paris along the Champs-Elysees and other places. You saw people out with authorities with weapons, which is highly unusual especially in France.
And then in London, and in the United Kingdom, the alert is at its highest level and I heard them say that on Sky News just a moment ago. But this palpable sense of fear was something that I wasn't experiencing even in the heart of the State Department warning. We had a lot of people at hotels remind us, your State Department has issued this warning. People have been warned not to be in crowded places. Well, this is the largest arena of its kind in all of Europe. So, this would certainly be one of those places that State Department would suggest to avoid. It seats 21,000 people and an American performer is there. That performance is wrapping up and there's a loud noise. Do we believe this is terror? We absolutely do not. We have no indication of that, but we know the authorities are covering their bases as you said just in case.
MACCALLUM: Yes, they sure are. Shepard, thank you so much. We want to bring in Brad Thor, a former member of Homeland Security Department's Analytic Red Cell Unit. Brad, welcome. Good to have you with us this evening.
BRAD THOR, FORMER MEMBER OF HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT'S ANALYTIC RED CELL UNIT: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: And you know, obviously, as you can hear from our conversation and the coverage so far, I don't know if you been listening for a little bit, but there's a lot of questions here. What you make of it so far?
THOR: Well, I'll tell you this. The antiterrorism police in Manchester are exceptional. And one year ago, they ran a huge drill with about 800 people, at a shopping center, called Trapper Center on the outskirts of Manchester. They took a little heat because one of their role players who were the suicide bomber shouted "Allahu Akbar," God is the greatest in the Arabic, and that got them some bad press.
But it was a -- by all of their accounts a very serious, well-run operation and something that police not just in Manchester but across Europe and around the world were concerned about suicide bombers in a crowded venue. Obviously, Shep said, we don't know yet if this was a terror if this was some sort of a mechanical malfunction. But of course, our minds immediately go to the 2015 attacks in Paris, and then even last year in Istanbul outside the sports stadium there.
MACCALLUM: Yes, that's exactly right. And you remember what happened at the Bataclan in a concert arena which was one of the most horrific things we have ever seen in terms of terrorist attacks on young people. We have this statement coming out from Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, who said that the shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were enjoying at concert. However, his jumping the gun a bit here because we just don't know and cannot confirm whether or not is an attack. One of the things that, that you have to watch closely in all of this is that we have not seen -- smoke.
We haven't seen a plume. We haven't seen the typical response -- or we haven't seen the typical sort of after effects of a suicide bomb or a planted explosive that you would generally see inside this arena. So, I mean, it is possible, sir, that, you know, this may be something technical, something or electrical and we have -- you know, obviously, we have fatalities; you're going have a very strong reaction in either case, correct?
THOR: Absolutely. You know, anytime you've got a stampede of people, you have the potential for trampling, and for people to be injured that way. But the lack of smoke is very interesting here. ISIS has been experimenting, though, with some different techniques. We have no idea at this point if it is ISIS, but they have been experimenting with different type of vest that instead of distributing shrapnel, to distribute to other things that could thicken the crowd and so on and so forth, which might play into a different experience when it's unleashed. Hopefully, that's not what we're seeing here.
But the lack of smoke -- and everybody is on edge. So you hear a loud explosion. You know, we've seen reports in the media where people have mistaken gunshots or loud sounds were gunshots and they think there's an active shooter, so at this point it is definitely become, wait, see, obviously, it's very concerning the amount of injuries there, but we need to just take it one step at a time and just consume the news responsibly as the facts come in.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, that's exactly right, Brad. And as we have said, this is an area where obviously a lot of people live. It's a major city in the United Kingdom. It is also an area where we have seen in the past some links to active terrorism. There was a very thorough investigation in the Manchester area that brought some people in and arrested them from Westminster bridge attack that we saw just a few short weeks ago, also years back in `05, I believe, in July, the transportation hit that happened in London also had links to individuals who are born in the United Kingdom and who had become radicalized, so this is an area that people do keep a very close eye on. That being said, there a lot of other people obviously who live in Manchester, England, it's an industrial area, a large city and, obvious, that this was an exciting night for all of those who were gathered to watch this Ariana Grande concert. And at the end of it when the lights came up and people started to move, there was a very loud explosion. It's interesting to me, Brad -- is Brad still with us?
MACCALLUM: I just want to ask you one more question, Brad, because what do you make of the delay? We have not heard any updates on fatalities at this point. We heard that there were several fatalities, nothing more yet. Any thought on that?
THOR: Well, you know, just to tie back on what you said, Manchester is no stranger to bombing. In the 1990s, they had some horrific, horrific bombing that were carried out by the IRA. There's no -- I'm not making an IRA connection to this. I'm just saying Manchester is no stranger to this kind of stuff and the police know how to handle it. As far as nothing updated, the bridge can be very tight-lipped about stuff and, actually, it's a sign of professionalism. They're trying to gather evidence and facts and to not alarm people, not put out information that is incorrect. I think we're going to be hearing a lot more about this as it goes on. I'm concerned that it's Ariana Grande. That is an American. If it is terrorism that this may have been chosen because the amount of young people and families there that this will help extend the news coverage, which is something that does play in the targeting for terrorist. But again, we don't know if this is terrorism at all yet.
MACCALLUM: All right. Brad, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We also want to mention that the FBI has come out and said that they are aware of these reports of a possible bombing in Manchester, United Kingdom, so we may get more information coming in from U.S. law enforcement sources on this tonight. However, officials are reminding us that when we're talking about Britain we're dealing with a first class world law enforcement structure and that the information -- they're the closest, obviously, to this investigation and we will expect that we would hear something from them shortly. Trace, also, out in L.A., monitoring all of this as we all are across all of the platforms that we have. Trace, what are you reading? What are you seeing as you scan through things here as well?
GALLAGHER: A little bit of new information, Martha, because remember we have been focusing right now on the Ariana Grande concert exclusively inside this arena which holds some 21,000 people, and there were some reports we had been hearing kind of a stream of eyewitnesses coming out talking about what they heard and what they saw. We just saw some video of a witness that was just on the outside of the arena and you could hear what sounded like an explosion. This was from the outside. It was really loud, and extraordinarily loud explosion from the outsides you can imagine what it was like on the inside. Again, the early reports were saying it was something on the right-hand side of the stage if you're looking at Ariana Grande performing. She had just walked behind the curtain and then the explosion happened they thought on the right-hand side of the stage. But then we saw the video and there was no smoke.
Well, now the U.K. transit police are focusing on the foyer. They're focusing near the ticket office, believing the explosion did not happen inside the arena proper with 21,000 plus were, butpossibly in a foyer on the side of the arena. Remember, we talked about this being kind of a contiguous building with Victoria Station that goes right into Manchester Arena, and now the focus seems to be not in the arena itself but on the side area near a ticket office in the foyer. And the numbers we're getting which we have not confirmed are very bad. And we have no way of confirming that except until police tell us. But it gives you a better idea of now where there focusing and why so many people would come out of this arena and not see the injuries and the fatalities that the police have been talking about. And it seems now that the focus has shifted a bit from off of the arena to the side of the arena which also explains why it was so loud on the outside instead of -- the sound percussion inside is very good. If this was in near the ticket offices and one of the foyers in the outside, it would be much louder. And that from our understanding is where this investigation is at least focusing.
But again, they talk about a high number of injuries. We see the ambulance is on scene. We've seen them pull out. We've seen them drive away. And we have yet to see any pictures of people being carried away in stretchers. The injuries that we have seen appeared to be for the most part superficial. We're talking about people with some blood on their legs and their knees and, you know, maybe some hand injuries and so forth, but we haven't seen the injury that have been described to us by some of those officials who's been talking about this saying there are a number of fatalities and many people were injured or wounded in this attack. So as we get more information, it will become clear now but may be the focus is switching a little bit to the foyer and not inside the arena itself. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good information. Trace, thank you very much. As we are telling you tonight, you're looking at a live scene in Manchester and the United Kingdom, an Ariana Grande concert was just ending about 10:30 PM in the evening when this huge sound, explosive sound went off possibly in the ticket area of this arena. It is one of the largest arenas, holds about 21,000 people according to some of the numbers that we're seeing, and it was clearly packed tonight for this concert of the American performer Ariana Grande. Mike Baker, former CIA operative joins us on the phone with his thoughts as we kind of sift through the information as we get it tonight, but clearly an enormous law enforcement response here. You can see fire engines going by the end of the street there as we look at it now, 12:30, 7 AM, in Manchester, United Kingdom. Mike, your thoughts on all this?
MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Yeah, I've just (INAUDIBLE) the end of it. First of all is that, unfortunately, you can't police, whether you're talking about the great Manchester police or the Metropolitan police, certainly in my time, which is their domestic security branch. They've got a lot of experience in this. They have a tremendous amount of experience, unfortunately, in post blast coverage. And so, you know, we'll get answers, but the answers take a little bit of time and that's frustrating for everybody in a situation like this. They don't want the media to answer. But the fact of the matter is the FBI is already offered assistance. It's a very close relationship between the FBI and MI5. And again, the Met police and certainly the Manchester police are extremely professional. So they will get, you know, answers and anything at this stage is obviously speculation, but once again, I think in the world of speculation, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's probably terrorism.
MACCALLUM: You know there's all this discussion, Mike, about maybe was balloons, maybe something technical, may be some pyrotechnic something that was involved in the concert that might have exploded, yet we're hearing that the sound was so loud that it was heard from people who were quite a distance away from this arena. And I'm also just looking at some of what we're seeing online, you know, according to this there's a guy who worked in a bar nearby, speaking to the press association, close by saying that he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood, and we do have the reports from the greater Manchester area police saying that they have confirmed fatalities, although I wouldjust point out that generally in this sort of situation, you do start to see some numbers. We haven't seen those yet. Now whether or not that means that, you know, maybe it's not as bad as it appears, we just really can't say yet.
BAKER: There an immediate triage mode right now. So there's obviously, they work as hard as they can to get information out as quickly as possible. But, you know, right now and something like this, your first requirement is to triage and get the immediate priorities taken care of and then start
communicating. But given the reports in terms of the location of where the explosions possibly took place and again, this is speculation. And the problem with blast sites is that witness reports are very unreliable. It's a very difficult, as you can imagine, a very difficult situation. And for people to have their wits about to be able to give accurate reporting about a location blast where they thought was how many blasts even. But the reporting coming out so far, talking about -- certainly what Trace would say, talking about it being in the foyer. It doesn't lend itself to thinking it might have been pyrotechnics or leftover technical from the concert that has finished.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean, we've all been down this road many times and covered these situations too many times. But it does appear that if it did happen outside of the concert arena that there's other explanation for him to be a little bit less likely. And as we said, Manchester has been in an area where we have seen some of these people who have been up to some very nefarious acts with regard to terrorism, who have gone to London and to Westminster Bridge recently as well. So, Mike, standby with us if you will. Greg Palkot -- thank you very much. Greg Palkot is going to join me now. He is in London and has a bit more information on the response on the ground to tell us about. Greg, good evening.
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Martha, hello. Yes, we're getting reports via our sister network here, Sky News, that a bomb disposal unit is on the scene there at the Manchester Arena. Again, we don't have anything more on that. The line of thinking regarding this incident tonight, but that certainly the hardest information that we have had that at least they're some kind of a reaction in the area of a possible nefarious, a possible criminal action in that direction. Again, we're getting also reports and this is just in from our Sky News affiliate here in the U.K. that area hospitals are on alert as you have been saying and we have been reporting there have been streams of ambulances seen going to the scene as well as police vehicles. We're now aware that area hospitals in Manchester are perhaps getting ready for fatalities. We've already heard from the greater Manchester police saying that they can confirm that there are a number of fatalities, there are number of deaths at the scene as well as injuries.
And just -- we are piecing together what you have been reporting as well, trying to get a sense of what happened, one or two explosions at the end of this Ariana Grande concert at the arena, appearing to be in what they call the foyer area just outside of the arena near the box office area for our viewers. They should understand in conjunction with this 21,000 seat arena, a relatively new one, opened in the mid-90s, is the Victoria Train Station, a major train station in Manchester. And basically, one building
adjoins the next. So there is a lot of access to this area from people outside of -- anyone who might have been attending the concert. So the idea and we have from other reports, perhaps a lack of security going into the concert and some focused on the area inside the concert area. It might not be necessary to understand what is going on here. Again, the arena connects with a train station in Manchester, and the explosions appear to come from what they call the foyer area next to the main concert hall, and that's where the explosions came from.
But again, perhaps the biggest information that we can relate to you, Martha, to our viewers is that according to Sky News, and I'm saying this now as we've been speaking, another media, bomb disposal unit are on the scene, police there are taking that possibility into active consideration, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Greg, it's worth, you know, adding here, just listening to you as you're going through all of this, and were seeing the same reports about the bomb disposal unit that is on the scene there. But we have seen in recent terrorist attacks that when it becomes more difficult to get into the actual venue, the airport in Brussels, or be it, perhaps, in this case the inside of the concert here in Manchester that we've seen things that sort of have moved one step away from that. It could be that this ticket area is more easily accessible, that there's less security to get into that area as we saw going up to the ticket counter in the airport in Brussels. So we know from gory experience, sadly, that they have found more accessible ways to get to people as their gathering at the entrance to some of these and it could be that that's what has happened here tonight. And you know it's worth just revisiting that the response is quite comprehensive. They are saying that this appears to be an explosive or bomb. We're going to show you a new video in just a moment as we're going to bring in Charles Krauthammer and just get his big picture view of this this evening. Let's take a look at this brand-new video that has just come in. Watch this with us as we see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: You could hear it, and we're going to play it again. You'll hear something in the background, and then you can hear someone say no. And we're going to continue to break that video down and we're going to get more -- let's play one more time and get a better look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That's coming from a dash cam that was positioned outside of the arena, and it's a loud bang. Charles Krauthammer joins us now as we wait for more information from the Manchester police. But Charles, we have seen this story many times, and as we've been talking about, there's an alert for all of Europe right now for travelers that are headed to that area. And once again, a concert hall appears to be the scene of some sort of attack.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously, there's two possible explanations, an accidental explosion followed by stampede and panic.
KRAUTHAMMER: A lot of people are killed and injured, or a terror attack, it's one of the other. Now, what to me is so tragic is that given the fact that Europe has been under attack almost every other month for years now that you've got really a continent on edge, particularly with this high level of alert to where even if you had an accidental explosion, you would get this instantaneous reaction, people remembering the attacks in Brussels and Paris and, of course, in Great Britain as well. And that could trigger the panic, which is why you get -- essentially even if this was an accident, in some sense it's a success, and the fact of the terror war, which is been ongoing. Not that there hasn't been stampede's before the era of terror, but it's surely is -- the first thing people think about in these kinds of attacks and I think it contributes to the fact that you could have so many fatalities even if this was not a deliberate attack but simply an accidental explosion.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. It's a great. And one of the goals of terrorism as Charles points out is to make people nervous and to make people on edge. And in that sense, regardless of what happened here tonight and we will know no doubt know very soon, they do succeed in putting people on edge. Thankfully, Charles, people are still going out and doing these things, but it does -- it makes you think twice about attending these sorts of large events really anywhere in the civilized world as well now.
KRAUTHAMMER: Look, people do that as an act of defiance and also because they don't want to think that their lives are going to be hampered or restricted by terrorism, and also if you want to be cold about it, just calculating the odds, it's not going to happen to me. These are fairly rare events given the number of events that can happen in one's life. But nonetheless, I think that is the essence of terrorism. You spread that kind of terror. It's not active. People are not in a panic 24 hours a day, but it's your first thought, and you first worry, and it contributes to what could have been a panicked reaction here to possibly an accidental explosion. But, of course, it could have been a deliberate one.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. We don't know yet. And while I have you, Charles, just a larger thought as we have watched the president in the early stages of this trip from Saudi Arabia now into Israel and headed toward to Europe, to Italy, to Rome, to the Vatican after that. He has tried to sort of build this language of being stronger against ISIS, stronger against terrorism. He had to speak carefully about it to the audience in Saudi Arabia in some ways. But this is something he is trying and has said he wants to eradicate. Is that a big bill in front of him for that?
KRAUTHAMMER: Look, and I think speaking plainly is very important. Manchester's had IRA attacks in the past. You've got histories of other terror organizations in the past, but this is not the red brigades. If it is an act of terror, overwhelmingly likely, it will be another active Islamic terror. We've had that now month after month in every corner of the world. That is the threat. It's good to have a president who not only speaks plainly about it, but who did it and addressed 50 Arab and Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia has a pretty sorry history of spreading radical elements in Islam, who's supporting the madrassas who preached hatred for the west for Christians and Jews and others. So, for the fact that he makes this speech in Saudi Arabia, and is able to get a kind of commitment from the Saudis and other Muslim nations to actually stand up against this now and take steps against it, I think is important. So I think that is an important step. And if you believe that this was a terror attack, then I think perhaps the timing was not accidental.
MACCALLUM: Charles, thank you very much. Charles Krauthammer joining us tonight with the big picture, as we look at the news unfolding this evening in Manchester. The ambulance is on the street, the concert inside, and young people heading out the doors, several of them with blood streaming down their bodies, as we wait to figure out. You can see the police response is quite clear and quite overwhelming. And Tony Shaffer, Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, CIA trained intel operative and senior fellow at the London center for policy research joins me now. Tony, what is your gut telling you on this one? Welcome.
TONY SHAFFER, RETIRED CIA TRAINED INTEL OPERATIVE: Well, look, I agree with Charles on the fact that everybody's on edge. I was in Penn Station about three weeks ago when one of the Amtrak officers tased someone, next thing you know there is a stampede to this station. Everybody is very, very tense. I think we have to understand that the likelihood in this case though is terror and here's why, the symbology of trying to do an act like this when President Trump is in Europe, or on a trip in Israel right now, is very important to the idea that they can reach out and touch people. Secondly, we had an attack back in March in Parliament, the driver killing people on the bridge there, so this is not a new thing for the British, and this is a very clear target, a big crowd like this. So, I'm going to go on a limb here and, look, I think this is not the shaolin monks, this is not the Amish, this probably radical Islam in some form. And I think we have to take very seriously the fact that this concern over this drove the Brexit vote and the British themselves seeking to break away from the E.U. because they've seen the E.U. in danger -- the entire continent by bringing in without any regard to proper screening a number of Islamists who I think have been clearly the shield, the camouflage for radical Islam groups to take hold and prosper. So this is I think part of the concern that drove the Brexit process and why England wants to do things to solidify its own border. And again, England is not a place where explosives or weapons are easily found or manufactured, so this is something we have to focus on.
MACCALLUM: So the video that you're seeing -- thank you, Tony, stick around for just a moment if you can.
SHAFFER: Yeah, sure.
MACCALLUM: We're getting some new pictures, new video coming in. The latest language around this is that police are investigating this as a possible terror attack. They have now had a couple of hours on the scene. So, you know, one would imagine that they have identified an area where this explosion went off and that they've had a little bit of time to sort of obviously help the wounded in that area but also to get a good enough feel for the area of this explosive, and whether or not it was a bomb or something other than that. So, you know, couple hours in and they're saying -- they're treating it as possible terrorist attack, seems to be as Tony's pointing out the logical place to sort of put your focus here, as Tony has been saying, and reports of a lot of blood and a lot of carnage according to some of these witnesses, Tony, but still we have not seen any sort of plumes, the smoke, the kind of visual that you see surrounding an explosive. Why would that be, Tony?
SHAFFER: Well, we need to look back in other instances where an IED was used. We have to remember that we have not seen the actual place it exploded and it is dark. So this could've been done on the periphery of the actual complex, so you may not have had it on a CCTV or something. Clearly you had that one video where you had the sound. That clearly was a sound in my judgment an IED. The other thing that I think we're seeing inclusive was a type of injuries. This may have been a highly focused weapon, an IED with shrapnel. People who build these things tend to use ball bearings and other small pieces of metal for purposes of shredding things. And it looks like some of the injuries you're seeing may have been from objects being flying at a very high rate of speed. So, again, so all of those things may indicate that the explosive bit was not in the place which was observable to those attending the concert, could have been on the periphery in some gate or some area. And it could have been in an enclose area.
MACCALLUM: I just want to point out, you look at that video that we just saw and, you know, this is kind of looping, so we'll see when it comes back. But it's so eerie because you see sort of older adults standing there at the bottom of the stairs. Everyone else is tearing away.
MACCALLUM: We're going to replay that in just a moment the explosion. But you know these people are probably getting out of their cars waiting for their kids to come out of this thing. And they just heard this explosion, Tony, and they're watching all these kids running down the stairs and your heart just stopped thinking about what it's like to these parents as they're probably arriving to pick up their children at this concert because it was just ending. Tony is going to listen with us to this explosive on the video one more time, which he just described as something sounding like an IED. Let's listen to it all of us together.
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UNINDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: You hear the response from likely from the person in the car. It's a dash cam video. But that's a large explosive sound to be sure, Tony.
SHAFFER: Yeah. My experiences -- look, I've been within proximity of IED's going off in Afghanistan, and that's kind of what they sound like. It's a very sharp concussion and then nothing. So I think from what I've seen of the injuries, and this thing could have been done in a enclose space where you wouldn't see a lot of debris or smoke. It could have been very well done without a lot of observation of it. But that explosion -- that was a very loud explosion, sounds like other things I've heard in combat.
MACCALLUM: Tony, thank you very much.
MACCALLUM: Greg Palkot is in London covering the story for us this evening. Greg, any other new information coming in from the scene around Manchester there that you're getting?
PALKOT: Concerning information for sure. We're tracking our sister network, Sky, as well as, of course, the BBC. The BBC home affairs reporter is quoted as saying that he has heard that the casualty figures that is the death toll at this incident could be in the double digits. That is basically what that means is more than ten. Again, no confirmation from the police on this, but this coming from the BBC, as well as other BBC reporting that we have been seeing in the last 10 or 15 minutes or so, saying that for the police here in the U.K., presumably the greater Manchester police, the GMP, that they are looking at this, considering this is a possible terror attack. This piece together with the other information that our sister network Sky News has been reporting that a bomb disposal unit teams are at the scene, more and more looks to raise a suspicion that this could have been a terror attack.
Otherwise, we are seeing the anecdotal and eyewitness accounts of the scene at the Manchester Arena of dozens of people on the ground of the scene of the actual terror, whether it was or not following this Ariana Grande concert at this 21,000 seat arena. The arena adjoining the Victoria Train Station in Manchester, a main train station, and the scene of the explosion or explosions apparently in what they call the foyer area outside of the main arena, and that is the box office area, so perhaps adjacent to the
wider public, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Greg, thank you.
Let's open up to Sky for just 20 seconds here as we listen in. They're on commercial right now. As we have been telling you throughout the evening, 10:30, 10:35, somewhere in that area in England time in Manchester, England, at the end of the Ariana Grande concert, a huge explosion was heard from some distance. The reports on the ground are that there are numerous fatalities, some of the numbers in the double digits as were hearing. We do not have a definite number on this yet. Questions abound as everyone obviously wonders whether or not this is yet another terror attack that has happened in England. It would be the third that we have seen in recent years.
We will have continuing coverage of this breaking news story out of Manchester, England, tonight, live on Fox News.
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