Manchester news Arena bomb 'most traumatic and haunting' incident of officer's career Manchester united news
PremierLeague-News.Com - 'I think the whole thing was probably the most intense hour, hour and a half of my life, certainly my professional life'
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A police inspector in a key command role at Manchester Arena after the bombing said events on the night 'were by far and away the most challenging, traumatic and haunting' of his career. Inspector Michael Smith, who was GMP's 'bronze' commander on the ground, was one of the first unarmed officers to enter the City Room, where the bomb was detonated. He arrived at the scene around 15 minutes after the 10.31pm explosion and at 10.48pm, he was inside the blast zone. Giving evidence at the public inquiry into the attack, Insp Smith described the initial situation as 'the most intense hour, hour and a half of my life, certainly my professional life'. He said he believed the blast scene was safe to operate in - and 'persistently' asked for paramedics and ambulance staff to attend. Radio messages he made and conversations he had that were captured on officers' bodyworn cameras were played or read out at the inquiry on Thursday. The 22 lives lost in the Arena attack (Image: Manchester Evening News) In one radio message, he said: "It looks to be like a bomb has gone off here. I would say there are about 30 casualties. Could I have every available ambulance to me please?" "My expectation then was I wanted them to come in to where I was," Insp Smith said. "In that moment, I would have in mind any and all." At 10.50pm, when he was in the City Room, he said over the radio: "So... I need every NWAS facility that we have got in here please - directly in here." Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.N. Only one paramedic entered the blast scene in the first 40 minutes, the inquiry has been told, with only three entering all night. "My expectation was that any paramedic that arrived would come to me," Insp Smith said. Inside the City Room, he said he told a sergeant to focus on the living - and said his role was to preserve life. Police officers, members of the public and Arena medics were inside at the time, together with NWAS paramedic Patrick Ennis. Insp Smith said he was 'pretty happy' there wasn't another terrorist in the City Room and said he told them to 'use whatever they can' to evacuate the injured. Inspector Smith giving evidence (Image: Arena Inquiry) He said he 'discounted the possibility' of a gunman being present because firearms officers were there.
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. "And I think my strategy from a pretty early stage was we need to get the people who are injured out of here, longer term this is a crime scene." The dying and injured were carried out on metal barriers, noticeboards and tables, the inquiry has heard. The injured, the inquiry was told, had to be taken down a flight of stairs to a casualty clearing station in Victoria station. "For me, there was never any possibility of using the other entrances," Insp Smith said. "That was the route in and out because that was where the ambulances were coming to. We had to find a way of getting people down those stairs.
First responders carry advertising boards to use as stretchers
(Image: Arena Inquiry)
"I think everybody who was involved did their very best to do that - extremely difficult manoeuvres really." There were 38 casualties in total who were taken down out of the City Room to the station. Of the 38, 26 were carried down by police, the public and other responders on the makeshift stretchers, the inquiry heard. The last person was extricated at 11.42pm. The inquiry was told it took more than an hour - from 10.31pm - for the final casualty to be taken out of the City Room. Insp Smith said he believed it was 'all happening very quickly indeed'. "I think the whole thing was probably the most intense hour, hour and a half of my life, certainly my professional life," he said. "It did not seem to me to last all that long."
He went on to read out a moving passage from a statement he gave to the inquiry. "The events of May 22, 2017 were by far and away the most challenging, traumatic and haunting of my career," Insp Smith said. "I saw for myself the actions of police officers, paramedics and members of the public who worked together as one big team to do their very best to help the injured, comfort the dying and give help to the relatives and friends of those affected in the immediate aftermath of this tragic event. "I am proud to be a part of that team effort." Insp Smith agreed with Lisa Roberts QC, for North West Ambulance Service, that he could not expect paramedics to be there immediately, and that by 11.07pm the first of the 38 seriously injured casualties had been taken from the City Room - at a time when only 10 paramedics were able to attend the scene, and they were downstairs in the Victoria railway station concourse. Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry, said he listened to Insp Smith's evidence 'with great admiration'. "I very much hope that as a result of what you have shared with us, we can do something to prevent others having to go through what you did," he said. Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a bomb filled with shrapnel, murdering 22 people and injuring more than 100, after a concert at the Arena by Ariana Grande on May 22, 2017.
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