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'I'm very lucky to be alive' says Leeds student caught up in Manchester terror attack

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Chloe Smith, a Psychology Student at Leeds Trinity University, attended the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester with a friend on the night of the attack.

Image Credit: Stephen Nulty, Flickr

For her, the realisation that something was wrong came when outside the station steps.

“A huge explosion noise came from inside the building”, she told me. “Everyone froze for a moment then ran screaming and crying into the streets as far away as possible”.

She says that the sheer size of the immediate response by emergency services was the first indicator that something was wrong.

“I was grabbing people asking what had happened, if it really was a bomb”, she says. “People said it was balloons but I knew it was way too loud.

“I asked a police officer what was happening but he said he did not know.”

Her overriding concern was to move away from the source of the blast. “I had no idea where we were going. I just needed to get away”.

Her impression of the security at Manchester Arena that night was “okay”, but not the strictest that she had experienced. “Leeds Arena is much more strict with police dogs,” she says.

The incident has left Chloe “shook up and a bit emotional”.               

“I am very lucky to be alive and unhurt”, she says. “Everyone has been very supportive and understanding.”

22 people have been confirmed killed so far, including 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, from Bury, 18-year-old Georgina "Gina" Callander, from Leyland, Liverpool girl Megan Hurley, Polish nationals Marcin and Angelika Klis, 32-year-old Sheffield woman Kelly Brewster, 26-year-old John Atkinson, friends Alison Howe and Lisa Lees, from Royton, and eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

On Tuesday evening the UK's terror threat level was raised to "critical" for the first time in a decade. 

 

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