Parents are desperately searching for teenage couple still missing in the aftermath of the Ariana Grande terrorist attack. The families of Liam Curry, 19 years old, and girlfriend Chloe Rutherford, 17 years old, have not spoken to the pair since they shared a selfie with Liam’s mother Caroline, moments before Grande took to the stage. Both the teens’ parents left their homes in South Shields, South Tyneside, at 4am today to get in Manchester. Chloe’s father Mark Rutherford, told ‘We don’t know anything. We are at the Etihad station just waiting for news. I drove through the night to get here. My wife phoned me and said “something’s happened in Manchester”. At this moment in time we have got friends and family circulating photos and messages on social media but that is all we can do for now. We don’t know anything more so we are not prepared to say anything at the moment.’
Elsewhere, Police Scotland confirmed it is helping to try and trace both teenagers from the island of Barra, who are still missing. Laura MacIntyre, 15 years old, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14 years old, have not been seen since the suicide attack last night. Laura’s father Michael MacIntyre tweeted ‘Please…please retweet. Looking for my daughter and her friend. Laura Macintyre and Eilidh Macleod #manchesterattack’
An appeal by Eilidh’s aunt Margaret MacNeil has also been shared tens of thousands times on Facebook. She said today that there was still no new news. Both children’s parents have traveled to the scene of tragedy. It was Eilidh’s birthday present and the two of them are fans of Ariana Grande. Western Isles Westminster SNP candidate Angus MacNeil told he had been in touch with the girls’ families and was looking to offer his support in any way possible.’I have just spoken to Marion MacLeod, Eilidh’s mother. She is distraught as you can imagine. She has been to all the hotels where girls who have become separated from their parents or guardians have congregated – but sadly with no sign of either Eilidh or Laura at the moment. My heart aches for them and all those caught up in this. Laura, is a close friend of my daughter so it has been difficult. They were last heard from last night when they sent a message to say that Ariana was playing her final song. There is no answer on their phones this morning.’
Meanwhile a student has written an appeal on Facebook calling for information about her parents. Alex Klis’s parents Angelika and Marcin Klis have not been seen since the explosion. In Facebook she post ‘Anyone who is in any safe place or hospital in Manchester, if anyone comes across my parents please please let me know as they’ve been missing ever since the attack, this is a picture taken tonight so this is exactly what they were wearing.’
Comedian Jason Manford has revealed a family friend of his is among those is still missing. Martyn Hett, 29 years old, from Manchester, has not been heard of since attending the concert. Manford tweeted ‘Friend of my family is still missing. He’s called Martyn Hett, he was wearing a retro shirt and has a Deidre Barlow tattoo on his ankle/calf.’
PR manager Martyn, who once won Come Dine With Me and also appeared on Tattoo Fixers, posted on social media himself from within the venue before explosion. He told ‘When you sneak out for a toilet break on the Macy Gray song and the entire arena had the same idea #DangerousWomanTour’
Horrifying footage captured minutes after the attack showed thousands of people fleeing in tears, many covered full in blood. One witness told she heard a ‘massive bang’ and saw a ‘stampede’ of people sprint out of the venue with one girl shouting ‘I don’t know where my sister is’. There were reports online claiming children who left the stadium without guardians have been taken to nearby Holiday Inn. Survivors are also being sheltered at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as they wait to be reunited with their friends and families. A desperate mother has spoken of her frantic efforts to find her daughter.
As the night wore on and teenagers began getting in contact with parents, a set of chilling tweets began circulating from people still unable to locate their loved ones. The people of Manchester offered up their own homes for stranded concertgoers using the hashtag #RoomForManchester on social media. At 3am Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, told they were treating it as a ‘terrorist incident’ and that the injured were being cared for at six hospitals. Charlotte Campbell last heard from 15 years old Olivia shortly before Ariana Grande came on stage at on Monday night. Ms Campbell, who lives in Manchester, said to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ‘I last had contact with her at half past eight last night. She was at the concert, she’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time and thanking me for letting her go. She was with her friend Adam – Adam was found about half an hour ago, he’s in hospital but Olivia has not been found yet.’
Jane Hanson, 44 years old, was watching the concert from a box inside the packed arena with her 16 years old daughter Andrea. Shetold ‘We were just getting ready to leave and there was a massive bang below. We initially thought it came from the stage but then we saw smoke below us. I saw children hysterically crying and panicking. One man was carrying children in his arms. One girl was ran outside the venue and was shouting “We don’t know where my sister is”. Children were just running for their lives. It was blood-curdling. It seems that the explosion happened at the front and those who decided to get up and leave just as it finished would have been caught up in the incident. When we left the box it was terrifying. We didn’t know which way to turn and I was scared that we would walk down the wrong path.’
A woman named Paula Robinson told she was looking after many of the children at the hotel and urged worried parents to get in contact. She wrote ‘Please re-post for any parents with children at M.E.N. We have taken as many kids as we can to Holiday Inn. We will keep them safe and stay with them. My six-year-old niece was in Manchester tonight for the concert. We haven’t heard from her/ her guardian and are sick with worry,’ one woman tweeted after the explosion. Her niece was later reported to be found and safe.’
Andrew Senior, 41 years old, said ‘My wife and two daughters were in there. They were wounded by shrapnel but they are OK. I spoke to them on the phone. All the casualties are sitting on the floor outside waiting to be taken to hospital. My wife and daughters are separated but they are OK. I feel really worried and I just wish I was with them. It’s at times like these that you realise how lucky you are. Armed officers surrounded the venue and bloodied casualties were seen being stretchered out of the concert that resembled really a ‘war zone’. There were fears a ‘nail bomb’ had been used as witnesses described there being ‘nuts and bolts flying everywhere.’
Last night police carried out a controlled explosion at Cathedral Gardens after finding a suspicious device, second. Jade Baynes, 18 years old, from Hull, was said to run from the area by armed police after leaving the concert arena. She told she heard loud bangs and what sounded like gunshots just after the entertainment had finished.
She told ‘There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out. An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm but leave as quickly as possible.’
She also said that there appeared to be some sort of commotion in the first tier of the arena, with a number of stewards stood around the seats. A bomb disposal team from the Army’s Royal Logistics Corps arrived at scene shortly after the incident, with reports that sniffer dogs could be heard coming out of the van. Manchester’s Victoria station, which backs onto the arena, was evacuated and all trains are cancelled. Greater Manchester Police told ‘Emergency services are currently responding to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please AVOID the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene. Details of a casualty bureau will follow as soon as available.’
Manchester Police have set up an emergency number – 0161 856 9400 – for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in area.