MANCHESTER, England, May 23, (Agencies): Desperate parents and friends posted heart-wrenching messages and pictures on social media in the search for their loved ones on Tuesday after a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at a British concert by US singer Ariana Grande. “STILL MISSING: Saffie Rose Roussos, 8yrs old. Missing from Manchester attack,” Adam J. Brown posted on Facebook, next to a picture of her smiling face. “White Ariana T-shirt-denim skirt-black leggings-black boots.” “Please … please retweet. Looking for my daughter and her friend,” Michael MacIntyre wrote on Tweeter, alongside an image of his daughter Laura and friend Eilidh.
Many parents were waiting for their children in and around the Manchester Arena when the blast rocked the foyer of the venue as thousands of young fans and parents streamed out following the gig on Monday evening. While many teenagers eventually found their friends and relatives in the chaos, some were helped to safety by bystanders, others were offered free taxi rides home and dozens were taken to nearby hotels.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was one of many British artists and celebrities to help spread the word by retweeting messages and posting offers of help. Grande, whose fan base is made up largely of teenagers and young girls, said on Twitter: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. I don’t have words.” Paula Robinson, 48, was at the train station next to the arena with her husband when she felt the blast and saw dozens of teenage girls screaming and running away from the arena. “We ran out,” she told Reuters. “It was literally seconds after the explosion. I got the teens to run with me.” Robinson said she took dozens of teenage girls to the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel and tweeted out her phone number to worried parents telling them to meet her there. She said her phone had not stopped ringing since her tweet. “Parents were frantic running about trying to get to their children. There were lots of children at Holiday Inn.”
In the hours after the blast, picture montages of smiling faces were being circulated of teens still unaccounted for after the concert. They carried the hashtag: “#PrayForManchester.” ‘Manchester’ and #StandTogether were trending on Twitter around the world on Tuesday morning. Charlotte Campbell called hospitals, police and set up an appeal on social media before calling radio and television networks to try to find her 15-year-old daughter Olivia. “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,” she told BBC radio. “Her dad is actually in Manchester looking for her. I’ve got friends out looking for her, I’ve got people I don’t even know out looking for her.