‘I saw blood and then I heard boom’
Piotr relives Manchester bomb terror
A Rutherglen man who lost an eye in the Manchester terror attack has told how he picked bits of hot metal from his skin in the immediate aftermath of the blast which killed 22 people.
Piotr Chylewski picked nuts and bolts from his body as he lay on the floor surrounded by carnage at the Manchester Arena in May.
The 46-year-old looked down to see the metal objects embedded in his skin after being thrown to the floor in the blast.
He said: “I knew what had happened right away, immediately. I saw people lying on the floor. And there were nuts on my body.
“I work as a maintenance engineer so I recognised them as I use this stuff daily.”
He was rushed to hospital where more metal was removed from his body in four operations and then placed in a medically induced coma.
But surgeons were not able to save his left eye.
The dad-of-two said: “There was so much metal inside me you’d need a metal detector to find it all. I have no idea how many pieces of shrapnel there were.”
Piotr, who stays in Burnhill, had been waiting in the foyer area to collect 12-year-old daughter Amelia and wife Ewa, 38, from the concert.
He added: “I remember people were using clothing from the Ariana Grande stall on people to try to stop the bleeding.”
As well as losing his left eye, Piotr, originally from Gostycyn, Poland, has had muscle on his leg removed after being damaged by shrapnel and he has a 20-inch scar on his torso following emergency surgery to remove metal shards from his abdomen.
A fundraising event was held on Saturday at his local pub, the Fairways.
He said: “The support I have had has been such a surprise. The care I received in hospital in Manchester and in Glasgow was excellent.”
And he recalled the moment the bomb detonated.
He said: “I sent Ewa a message saying, ‘I’m here’, then started writing another one saying I was at the main entrance.
“Those were the last words before my phone smashed in my hand.
“Then I lost vision in my eye.
“When I put my hand up to it, I saw blood and then I heard ‘boom’. I remember it happening in that order, in fractions of seconds.
“When I saw the blood and heard the noise I realised right away what had happened. Immediately after that it went pure quiet.
“I was drifting, losing contact, but I came back.
“They had to cut my clothes off, and I was sitting outside against the wall in only my pants.
“I saw people lying on the floor.
“That was horrible.”
There was so much metal inside me you’d need a metal detector to find it all