He­li­copters, sirens still heard 10 hours later

New Straits Times - - News -

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

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