Sheffield man said stampede of people escaping Manchester Arena was similar to Hillsborough disaster

Lewis Speed (left) and Nat Lockwood (right) - Credit: Nat Lockwood Facebook
Lewis Speed (left) and Nat Lockwood (right) - Credit: Nat Lockwood Facebook
0
Have your say

A Sheffield man who survived the Manchester terror attack has described the scene of petrified people stampeding out the arena as "something similar to Hillsborough".

Nat Lockwood, 25, and his partner Lewis Speed, 24, booked last-minute tickets to watch Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena last night.

After the singer finished her encore, the couple waited for the house lights to come up in the arena before making their way to the exits.

However, Nat said that there was then a bang inside the stadium, almost like "dropping a microphone from a great height next to a speaker.

The Northern General hospital worker said that, after a moment of silence, he witnessed a frightening stampede of people crushing to get the exits in a blind panic.

He said: "We only booked the tickets last minute. We were meant to go to the Birmingham show but we changed our minds.

"When the show finished, the house lights came up and everybody stood up to start leaving but then there was this huge bang.

"There was a moment of silence and confusion before everyone started screaming and running towards the exit. It was like something from a film.

"It was a stampede of people. I was not alive at the time of the Hillsborough disaster but the crush of panicked people was something similar to that."

In 1989, 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush at Hillsborough football stadium during their side's FA Cup semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest.

Thankfully, Nat and his partner were able to make their way out of the arena to safety by being escorted behind the stage.

Nat said he first began to realise the seriousness of the situation when he saw the amount of oncoming emergency service vehicles.

"People were saying it could have been a balloon popping. But these people were screaming out of fear, not excitement, there was true fear in their voices," Nat said.

"I told my partner we need to get out of here. The streets were chaos and full of people crying and screaming and we just followed the crowd to an open space.

"I called my sister and told her to tell my parents that I was safe and we went straight back to our hotel. We were so shocked and frightened."

Police have confirmed that 22 people died following the suicide bomb attack with another 59 injured.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Manchester resident believed to be of Libyan descent, has been named as the suicide bomber behind yesterday's tragedy.

Nat said the true scale of the disaster doesn't feel real yet but said he was heartbroken to see that people, including Sheffield resident Kelly Brewster, are still missing.

He said: "It's just horrendous seeing it all over the news, it doesn't feel real or that we were actually there yet.

"When you see a disaster on the news you feel awful for who is involved but to see it first hand and to see people are still missing breaks my heart.

"I was driving over Snake Pass today and I had a little cry about it all."