Emergency services apologise after damning report found Arena attack response 'inadequate'

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Greater Manchester Police and the North West Ambulance Service have all apologised for their response.

The emergency services involved in the responding to the Manchester Arena terror attack have apologised for their actions - which were found to have been "inadequate".

It follows a damning report which found victims were left “waiting in vain” and “desperate for help”.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Police and the North West Ambulance Service responded to the findings of the second Inquiry report, which found their performance was “far below the standard it should have been”.

Dave Russel, Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service described his force's response as "wholly inadequate and totally ineffective".

He apologised to the families of the 22 victims who were killed when the bomb was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

He said: "I want them to know that I full accept the wide criticisms of our service and I accept the findings in full."

He continued by adding that, although the firefighters who were eventually on scene "did they best job they could", but "we were simply too late in our response".

He added: "Today is a very difficult day for many, especially those who so desperately wanted to help.

"Every firefighter wants to do their best, the best job they can, to support, to assist and save lives.

"Those who were eventually were deployed did the best job they could."

The fire service say it has made "significant changes to address the failures" highlighted in the second damning report into the emergency service response.

He concluded by saying: "We were simply too late in our response but five years on from the attack, I want the public to know that this will never happen again."

The report found the first instincts of one of the station managers was to move crews away from the scene instead of towards it.

Meanwhile the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he is "truly sorry" for the force's response to the attack.

Stephen Watson said: "I fully accept the findings.

"Beyond the selflessness and professionalism of so many of our frontline staff, it is also clear that our coordination of the response to this atrocity was poor.

"Sadly GMP's failings were significant.

"We failed to plan effectively and the execution of that which was planned was simply not good enough.

"Our actions were substantially inadequate and fell short of what the public have every right to expect, and for this, I apologise unreservedly."

Police at the Manchester Arena following the attack.

Chief executive officer of North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Darren Mochrie, said the service's failures in its response to the Manchester Arena bombing "weigh heavily on us as an organisation".

He added: "Whilst our actions were well-intentioned, I apologise whole-heartedly for our failures."

He began by paying tribute to the victims of the attack and said NWAS accepts the findings of the report and said the service accepts "that more of our staff should have been deployed to the City Room to help triage patients and manage their evacuation".

Mr Mochrie then highlighted some of the failings of his service the night of the attack.

He said: "We failed to establish adequate communications between our control rooms and each other."

Mr Mochrie said the service's failures in its response "weigh heavily on us as an organisation", adding: "Whilst our actions were well-intentioned, I apologise whole-heartedly for our failures." 

Care worker John Atkinson, 28, was six metres away when the explosion went off in the venue after an Ariana Grande concert on the evening of 22 May.

Mr Atkinson's family say John was left dying "without dignity" on the City Room floor for up to 50 minutes, during which time he told a police officer: “I’m gonna die.”

Only three paramedics entered the City Room on that tragic night and none were seen to attend or assist Mr Atkinson.

He was carried on a makeshift stretcher to a casualty clearing area where he later suffered a cardiac arrest – one hour and 16 minutes after the blast.

Manchester Arena Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders delivered a scathing report on the response of the emergency services.