Helicopters, sirens still heard 10 hours later
KUALA LUMPUR: About 10 hours after an explosion shook the Manchester Arena in England, PhD student Ammielle Akim, 28, can still hear helicopters and sirens from her housing area.
An hour and a half before the horrific incident yesterday, she was walking home from a laboratory at a research institute less than 2km away from the venue.
“After I got home around 11pm, I heard police sirens and soon after, ambulance sirens. As soon as I got on Facebook, I saw countless postings about an explosion, and I was shocked.
“At the time, the reports had yet to mention that it was a bombing so I was hoping that nobody was seriously injured.
“I thought maybe a speaker blew up, triggering panic among the concert-goers.”
The sounds intensified about an hour later, said Ammille, who is a University of Manchester student.
She said she learned from media reports that the authorities confirmed there were at least 22 fatalities in the terrorist attack.
“After I was convinced that it was more than an accident, I marked myself safe on Facebook. Seven of my Facebook friends did the same.
“My fiancé immediately called me after he read about the incident to check on me and so did my brother,” she said, adding that a vigil would be held at Albert Square, Manchester Town Hall, at 6pm local time.
Retired accountant Kassim Mohd Said, 65, who lives about 2km from the arena, thought he heard fireworks when the bomb went off.
“I heard a bit (of the explosion), but I thought it was fireworks, so it did not bother me then and I did not take a second look,” said Kassim, who frequently travels to Manchester.
He said messages of concern from family members and friends came pouring in on social media and WhatsApp since reports of the incident surfaced. By Laili Ismail