24 hours on from a bomb attack that claimed the lives of 22 people and has left a further 59 injured, Ariana Grande’s drummer has described the chaos and confusion that gripped Manchester Arena in the minutes following the blast.
Speaking to Fox News via text message, Aaron Spears said the bomb went off while the band, who were accompanying Grande on her ‘Dangerous Woman’ tour across the UK, were backstage, making their way back to their dressing rooms.
“We finished the show and were walking back to our dressing rooms and BOOM!!! We could hear people. We had no idea what it was… There was all kinds of speculation as to what was going on,” Spears confirmed via text messages that were uploaded to Twitter by Fox journalist Steve Chenevey.
The drummer said that at first, the group were unsure as to what was going on, saying, “Initially we thought that the sound was all kinds of things, but it didn’t hit that this was a bomb until we were evacuated and they told us exactly what was going on."
Several minutes later, though, Spears says security evacuated the band and Grande from the building, which is when it became apparent how serious the situation was.
The bombing, which is currently being treated as a terror attack, went off just after 10.35pm on Monday night. Among the victims who lost their lives on Monday evening were eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, 18-year-old Georgina Callander and 26-year-old John Atkinson.
The bomber, who is believed to have died in the attack, was 22 years old.
Listen: Mamamia Out Loud discuss the importance of talking about what happened in Manchester on Monday night. Post continues....
Following the texts, Spears also posted a message to his personal Instagram account that read, “I just wanted to let you know that we are ok. Everyone with the tour is ok but please pray for the families of the people who were injured and suffered loss tonight. Thank you.”
"It’s so heartbreaking because so many little ones attend our shows… I just keep thinking about them," Spears' text continued, adding, “I’m extremely grateful that no one on the touring crew was physically hurt but this painful memory will live with us all forever… I’m still just in disbelief… It’s so surreal.”
The Mirror also reported that the Washington DC native also added on Facebook, "I just wanted to say thank you for the texts, the calls, and the messages checking on me and the crew on the tour...We are all ok...Please pray for the people in Manchester who were injured tonight...Thank you..."
Two hours after the attack, which struck the 20,000 person strong arena just after 10.35pm on Monday evening, Grande tweeted, "broken. i am so, so sorry. i don’t have words.”
If you'd like to support the victims of the attack and their families, you can donate to the Manchester attack victims fund here.