John Atkinson, a 28-year-old care worker, was walking through the foyer of Manchester Arena at 10.31pm on 22 May 2017 when an Islamic State sympathiser named Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb. Atkinson suffered severe leg injuries, but remained conscious and talking.

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Indeed, according to the newly published findings of the public inquiry into the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert, in which 22 people were killed, he would very likely have survived – were it not for the inept, slow and poorly coordinated response by Greater Manchester’s police, fire and ambulance services.

Outrageously, said Jack Hardy in The Daily Telegraph, Atkinson was not treated or even assessed by a paramedic for 47 minutes after the attack: an untrained member of the public tied a tourniquet around his leg, and eventually he was carried out of the foyer by police on a makeshift stretcher. He died in hospital soon after.

“In the face of mortal danger, we count on the emergency services to put their lives on the line to save others,” said the Daily Mail. Very often they prove themselves “unimaginably brave”. On this occasion, though, they “disgraced themselves” with a response of buck-passing timidity.

The excoriating 916-page report by the former judge Sir John Saunders describes a litany of failures that left scores of grievously wounded victims facing an “interminable” wait, said Jennifer Williams in the FT. The police failed to declare a major incident for 140 minutes, meaning that emergency protocols did not kick in.

Communication was poor: armed police bravely entered the foyer and declared it safe within 19 minutes of the explosion, but other services were not informed, fundamentally undermining the response. Only three paramedics attended in the first hour. Ambulance staff and firefighters were kept away by their risk-averse commanders.

Disturbingly, many of the inquiry’s findings mirror those of Lady Justice Hallett’s probe into the aftermath of the London suicide attacks of July 2005, said Fiona Hamilton in The Times. In Manchester, as in London, “individuals showed great courage”, but were let down by “poor training, chaotic communication and a basic misunderstanding of roles”.

The tragic repetition highlights a continued culture of “complacency and incompetence” at the highest levels of the emergency services. Of course, these services have now …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


Manchester bombing report exposes ‘complacency and incompetence’ within emergency services

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