Manchester Arena Inquiry: Police officer at scene of blast saw just one paramedic looking "completely overwhelmed"

Credit: PA

The Manchester Arena Inquiry has heard that a police officer at the scene of the attack only saw one paramedic and that he looked "completely overwhelmed".

Sergeant Andrew Beasley described a "chaotic" scene and officers moving around "in a daze" initially in the City Room of the arena where the bomb was deployed, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.

Last week the inquiry heard that only three paramedics ever entered the City Rooms including two members of North West Ambulance Service's Hazard Area Response Team, who attended more than 40 minutes after the blast.

Sgt Beasley, who arrived at the arena shortly before 11pm, said he was only aware of one paramedic on the scene.

He said: "It occurred to me that it was too much for one paramedic, that the paramedic looked completely overwhelmed."

Sgt Andrew Beasley has been giving evidence at the inquiry this morning. Credit: Manchester Arena Inquiry

The inquiry heard that in a radio message to force control he said: "I'm sure ambulance are doing what they can, but we have still got at least three critical that aren't being looked after by anybody with any medical training."

At 11.11pm, 40 minutes after Salman Abedi detonated the device, Sgt Beasley was recorded having a conversation with a police constable who had brought towels, the inquiry was told.

The police constable said: "It's as good as it gets."

Sgt Beasley told the inquiry: "The first aid provision which would be in our normal patrol vehicles is useful, but the injuries that we were encountering that night meant that first aid kit was clearly superficial, was not up to the level of dressings that we required."

Pete Weatherby QC, representing some of the families of victims, said: "Would I be right that highlights the lack of equipment available to you and the lack of medically trained personnel there to help at that time, 40 minutes after the explosion?"

Sgt Beasley said: "Yes, sir."

He agreed that an hour after the explosion, casualties were still being carried on metal barriers because there were no stretchers.

Sgt Beasley said that he and Inspector Michael Smith had conducted a risk assessment and came to the conclusion they were safe to remain in the City Room.

But, he said that conclusion was not communicated to anyone outside of the foyer area and it did not cross his mind that paramedics may be holding back from entering.

Sgt Beasley said he did not think the interaction between the emergency services was adequate on the night.

He said: "I felt that it was almost only police that were involved within the City Room, and that we took casualties to North West Ambulance Service who were outside the City Room, and that is about as much of the interaction that I was aware of on the night."

The inquiry heard Sgt Beasley had self-deployed to the arena after reading the police log of the incident.

He said: "I can honestly say I was overwhelmed on arrival and I remain overwhelmed by the experience." 

The inquiry is due to hear from members of the North West Ambulance Service later this week.